BLOOMINGTON - The president of Bloomington-based Cook Group Inc. says Tuesday's agreement to sell its Cook Pharmica LLC subsidiary to New Jersey-based Catalent Inc. (NYSE: CTLT) and the decision to acquire a former General Electric facility near the company's headquarters will have a positive impact on the city and state. Pete Yonkman says the nearly $1 billion dollar deal for Cook Pharmica has been six months in the making. "Selling a company for Cook is not something that happens very often," Yonkman told Indiana INdiana Business. "In fact, it's pretty rare in our history." Because of this, he added, there were a number of significant considerations.

"We wanted to make sure -- first and foremost -- that it was good for our employees at Cook Pharmica. We wanted to give them an opportunity to grow and continue to expand. Would it be good for our customers and patients that we serve? And then also, would it be good for the community -- in this case, Bloomington?" Yonkman continued. "Having now gone through this for six months, I could say for sure that all three stakeholders will see really positive benefits from this deal."

The sale, which is expected to be complete in the next three months, diversifies Bloomington's robust biosciences portfolio with a third global presence along with Cook and Illinois-based Baxter BioPharma Solutions. "You really do have a new life sciences hub in southern Indiana and we think that's great for everybody involved," Yonkman says.

"It's kind of symbolic," Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton told Inside INdiana Business Host Gerry Dick. "Cook has now acquired the old television factory, RCA (where Cook Pharmica is located). They're just now acquiring the old refrigerator factory, GE, and turning it them both into the new economy, major manufacturing facilities. That needs to happen at the ground level, too, with the smaller companies, the new startups, as we convert to the new economy."

Cook Group, Bloomington's largest private employer, says Catalent is looking to "aggressively" invest in Bloomington and it will establish a center of excellence there through the Cook Pharmica acquisition. The former GE plant, located close to the Cook campus, produced refrigerators for some 50 years in Monroe County before the company pulled out for good last year. Cook Group says it will use the additional space to help with production modernization efforts, which could also result in an additional 500 employees in Bloomington.