Beckman Coulter said today it agreed to acquire the clinical microbiology business of Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics for an undisclosed price.

Siemens’ clinical microbiology business specializes in microbial identification and antibiotic sensitivity testing (ID/AST). The business operates with an installed base of over 6,000 instruments globally, and is part of Siemens’ diagnostics division, which finished last year with $5.332 billion (€3.942 billion) in revenue.

Today’s announcement by Beckman Coulter—an indirect, wholly owned subsidiary of Danaher—ends months of speculation over the future of Siemens’ clinical microbiology business. In March, BioMerieux CEO Jean-Luc Belingard told Reuters his company would look at acquiring the business from Siemens, which the wire service said had been offering through bankers “around $500 million” for its clinical microbiology operations, citing unnamed sources.

Siemens’ microbiology product line includes the MicroScan® Instruments and MicroScan panels/consumables, along with data management solutions. The MicroScan systems are designed to deliver high accuracy and superior detection of emerging resistance.

“The clinical microbiology business will be an excellent complement to Beckman Coulter's Diagnostics business with a strong reputation and market position,” Beckman Coulter Diagnostics President Arnd Kaldowski said in a statement. “Adding its ID/AST solutions to our existing products and services will create an opportunity to enhance our offerings to laboratory customers and improve patient care.”

Kaldowski added that the acquisition will expand Beckman Coulter’s product portfolio with differentiated analytical systems that elevate the company’s clinical capabilities for customers, while driving continued growth.

Siemens’ deal with Beckman Coulter is expected to close in the first quarter of 2015, subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.

Earlier this month, Bloomberg reported that Siemens was looking to refocus on its energy and industrial businesses, citing unnamed sources as saying the German conglomerate was also looking to sell off its hospital database and IT business.

Adding credence to that talk was Siemens restructuring its operations in May, in part by giving greater operational independence to its healthcare businesses. CEO Joe Kaeser at the time insisted that the action was not intended to signal a sell-off but to increase their ability to address a changing market.

However, Morningstar analyst Debbie Wang speculated to the Boston Business Journal that Siemens may still wish to grow in diagnostics, saying the company was one of two most likely suitors for Alere. The comment followed a shakeup of Alere’s management that led an outspoken shareholder to say publicly that the point-of-care diagnostics developer had received unsolicited offers from potential strategic acquirers in the past year. 

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