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Thermo Fisher Sells Three Lab Supply Businesses To GE Healthcare

Divestiture: Transaction moves Thermo Fisher closer to completing Life Technologies purchase

by Marc S. Reisch
January 9, 2014 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 92, Issue 2


Thermo Fisher Scientific has signed an agreement to sell its cell culture, gene modulation, and magnetic beads businesses to GE Healthcare for $1.06 billion.

The scientific instrument maker agreed to sell the three businesses in November to win European Commission approval of its planned $13.6 billion acquisition of life sciences industry supplier Life Technologies, which makes similar products.

Thermo Fisher is still waiting for other regulatory approvals, including one from the U.S. However, the firm doesn’t expect it will have to make additional divestitures and still plans to close on the Life Technologies purchase early this year.

For its part, GE Healthcare says the acquisition will allow it to expand a $4 billion-a-year life sciences business. The Thermo Fisher businesses will strengthen GE’s technologies for cell biology research, cell therapy, and the manufacture of innovative biological medicines and vaccines.

“This deal makes a good business even better and will help us realize our vision of bringing better health care to more people at lower cost,” GE Healthcare CEO John Dineen says. GE also expects to close on the deal early this year.

The businesses Thermo Fisher is selling had 2013 sales of $250 million. Part of the firm’s analytical technologies segment, the three operations represent just a fraction of the combined $16.3 billion in annual revenues of Thermo Fisher and Life Technologies.

“Given their relative size,” wrote Goldman Sachs analyst Isaac Ro in a note to investors, “we do not believe these businesses were significant contributors to Thermo Fisher’s core growth.”

Even so, Thermo Fisher is not losing out in the transaction with GE. In a recent talk with Ro at a Goldman Sachs conference, Thermo Fisher CEO Marc Casper said the firm will obtain and keep similar Life Technologies franchises. And those, he said, are stronger than the soon-to-be divested operations.



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