M&A Report

Danaher Closes $21.4 Billion GE Biopharma Acquisition

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has had a chilling effect on strategic acquisitions, M&A activity is still taking place, including the conclusion of the biggest deal in the diagnostics space in over a year.

The Danaher Blockbuster

First announced in February 2019, the $21.4 acquisition of General Electric’s Biopharma business by Danaher closed at the end of March. Danaher financed the purchase with cash on hand, stock sales and issuances and funds raised through debts and credit facilities. The company also agreed to assume certain GE pension liabilities as part of the deal, which is so massive in size and geographical scope that it required antitrust and other approval in the US, Europe, Korea, Brazil, Russia, China, Israel and Japan.

The acquired Biopharma unit, comprised of single-use technologies, process chromatography hardware and related consumables, development instrumentation and consumables and cell culture media and service, will operate as a standalone company called Cytiva within Danaher’s $6.5 billion Life Sciences segment. Other companies in the unit include Pall, Beckman Coulter Life Sciences, SCIEX, Leica Microsystems, Molecular Devices and Phenomenex. “GE Biopharma is renowned for providing best-in-class bioprocessing technologies and solutions,” noted Danaher CEO Thomas P. Joyce, Jr., adding that it would provide “an excellent complement to our current biologics workflow solutions.” The company previously indicated that it was expecting 45-50 cents per share earnings accretion for the first year of deal completion, but that was before the COVID-19 pandemic.

For its part, unloading GE Biopharma is part of GE’s larger, ongoing restructuring plan to focus on its three core segments: aviation, power and renewable energy.

Thermo Fisher/Qiagen & Quest

 Meanwhile, the other massive M&A deal in the diagnostics space, Thermo Fisher’s proposed acquisition of Qiagen for $11.5 billion, remains on track. In recent corporate disclosures, Thermo Fisher indicated that it still expects the deal to close in the first half of 2021 and that it has raised $3.5 billion in US and European bond offerings to finance it.

One firm that has shelved M&A deals due to the pandemic is Quest Diagnostics. However, it’s just a temporary reprieve. Quest Chairman and CEO Steve Rusckowski expressed “strong conviction” that negotiations will resume and that deals may be completed in the third quarter. He also indicated that M&A will continue to play a central role in the company’s long-term business strategy and that the pandemic may actually accelerate acquisitions by aggravating the financial struggles of hospital and smaller regional labs and making them ripe for takeover.


Here’s a summary of the key M&A diagnostic deals announced in April 2020:

MERGERS, ACQUISITIONS & ASSET SALES
Acquiring Company Target(s) Deal Summary
Danaher General Electric biopharma business
  • Price: $21.4 billion cash
  • Status: Closed
  • Danaher financing the deal with $3 billion from equity offering, cash on hand + proceeds of debt and/or new credit facilities issuance
  • GE business to operate as a standalone company called Cytiva within Danaher’s $6.5 billion Life Sciences segment
Bio-Rad Celsee
  • Price: Undisclosed
  • Status: Closed
  • Bio-Rad acquires producer of Genesis system for isolating and analyzing single cells for cytometry, transcriptomics, multi-omics, rare-cell enrichment and enumeration and immune monitoring
OpGen Curetis GMbH
  • Price: 2,662,564 new common shares of OpGen (73% stake) based on $24 million valuation of combined business with current OpGen holders keeping remaining 27% equity share
  • Status: Closed
  • Curetis to become wholly owned subsidiary of OpGen to create transatlantic, US-based, Nasdaq-listed company with a commercial-stage molecular diagnostics and bioinformatics franchise and pipeline focusing on infectious diseases and antimicrobial resistance
Genalyte BaseHealth
  • Price: Undisclosed
  • Status: Closed
  • Acquisition of data analytics firm results in combined company providing onsite, rapid diagnostics with data analytics capabilities
Haemonetics Corporation Enicor
  • Price: Undisclosed
  • Status: Closed
  • Maker of TEG Hemostasis Analyzer acquires German developer of EU marked ClotPro blood coagulation test system
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