The Irish pharma wholesaler has purchased a string of ancillary services firms this year to broaden its business mix and stay competitive in the evolving European distribution market. Last moth the company paid up to $10.5m (€6.7m) in cash to gain complete ownership of US company Alliance Healthcare Information, a pharma sales and marketing services provider. In April this year the firm made its first foray beyond Ireland and the UK into mainland Europe, with the purchase of Budelpack, and this was followed by the acquisition of another packaging firm in Europe, Pharma Logistics Investments (PLI), in August. Today's announced acquisition of Procon Conferences, which specialises in corporate event management for the pharmaceutical and healthcare sector, gives the firm entry into yet another niche pharma services market and will form part of the company's expanding Contract Sales and Consultancy Outsourcing division. United Drug will pay £4.2m in cash for the business when the deal closes and a further £1.2m if agreed business targets are met over the next 12 months.