Transaction marks GE Healthcare’s first acquisition attempt within its life science business since the failed buyout of Abbott units.
GE Healthcare agreed to acquire Whatman for approximately $716.27 million. Whatman’s filtration and sample-preparation technologies will enhance GE Healthcare’s life science business.
GE Healthcare will pay £2.70 per share for a total value of about £363 million. The price represents an 11.57% premium over Whatman’s closing value.
In April of last year, GE Healthcare picked up Wave Biotech, LLC to pad its biopharmaceutical manufacturing offerings. About three months later, however, GE Healthcare reneged on its decision to buy Abbott Laboratories’ diagnostics and point-of-care divisions. The $8.13 billion definitive agreement would have been one of the biggest acquisitions of the year had it been finalized.
The current transaction with Whatman is scheduled to close in the second quarter of 2008. Whatman’s largest shareholder, Hermes Focus Asset Management, which owns approximately 15% of outstanding shares, has reportedly agreed to vote in favor of the take-over.
Whatman’s product offering includes filters and membranes for laboratory, research, life science, and medical technology applications. GE Healthcare’s life science unit provides technologies for cellular and protein science research and tools used in the manufacture of biopharmaceuticals.
“Whatman will benefit significantly from the business process expertise within GE Healthcare,” remarks Kieran Murphy, Whatman CEO. “In addition, Whatman’s product opportunities within the pharmaceutical, diagnostic, and forensics markets will have a greater chance of success within the larger GE Healthcare group.”