Danaher To Buy Beckman Coulter For $6.8 Billion | Chemical & Engineering News
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Web Date: February 7, 2011

Danaher To Buy Beckman Coulter For $6.8 Billion

Acquisition expands Danaher's move into life sciences
Department: Business
Keywords: lab equipment, biomedical, diagnostics, acquisition, life sciences

Danaher Corp. announced an agreement on Monday to acquire biomedical and lab automation equipment maker Beckman Coulter for $6.8 billion in cash and debt. Danaher is a diversified holding company that owns businesses as varied as microscopes, water treatment technologies, and hand tools.

Danaher's $83.50-per-share offer for Beckman Coulter represents a 45% premium on the closing price of Beckman's stock on Dec. 9, the day before rumors of a sale began. With annual revenues of approximately $3.7 billion, Beckman sells laboratory equipment for medical diagnostics and drug discovery. The companies say they expect the deal to close in the first half of 2010.

In recent years, Danaher has been adding to its life sciences and diagnostics segment. In September 2009, the company paid $1.1 billion to acquire mass spectrometry firm AB Sciex from its two owners, MDS and Life Technologies. The purchase pushed Danaher into the top 10 among global instrumentation firms (C&EN, April 26, 2010, page 22).

It has been a busy season for instrumentation acquisitions. In December 2010, Thermo Fisher said it would pay $2.1 billion to buy Dionex, a leader in liquid and ion chromatography. In May 2010, Agilent Technologies completed its $1.5 billion acquisition of Varian as part of a strategy to boost its exposure to the bioanalytics market.

Life sciences and health-related companies are attractive targets for Danaher because the company looks for fast growing, technology-based businesses that bring high margins and an opportunity for international growth, says Efraim Levy, an equities analyst at Standard & Poor's. In addition, he points out, "Beckman has some similarities to Danaher's own businesses. It sells both the equipment and the consumables that get used with it and that have to be replaced on a continuing basis."

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