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Hologic, the US medical device company, said on Monday it would acquire Gen-Probe, which makes diagnostic tests, in a $3.75bn cash deal that will give it a stronger presence in blood screening and women’s health.
Hologic is paying $82.75 a share for Gen-Probe, representing a 20 per cent premium above Gen-Probe’s closing share price last week. The deal is expected to bring $75m in cost savings in the next three years.
Hologic’s acquisition comes as healthcare companies have turned increasingly acquisitive in the first half of the year. Expiring drug patents and slowing use of medical services in the US have led companies to look for new ways of lifting sales.
Separately, Warner Chilcott, the Dublin-based, US-quoted speciality drug business, said it had launched a strategic review including the option of a sale to another business.
Warner Chilcott said it was considering “a broad range of strategic alternatives to enhance shareholder value, which include preliminary discussions with potential offerors”.
Rob Cascella, chief executive of Hologic, said: “With the addition of this product line and these products, we feel that we’re positioned to now have a high-growth molecular business and overall diagnostic business.”
Gen-Probe specialises in testing for gonorrhoea, chlamydia and human papillomavirus (HPV). Hologic expects the addition of Gen-Probe to bolster its diagnostics business, helping to grow as quickly as its core breast health business.
For Gen-Probe, the combination with Hologic opens it up to emerging markets and Europe, where Hologic already has sales and marketing teams in place.
“What we intend to do is leverage the products of Gen-Probe with the existing distribution that Hologic currently has, with 500 people in China today in a direct sales operation. We are direct throughout all of Europe and have an infrastructure of training, applications and support people around the world,” Mr Cascella said.
Goldman Sachs is helping Hologic finance the deal and is acting, along with Perella Weinberg Partners, as a financial adviser. Morgan Stanley is advising Gen-Probe.
Warner Chilcott’s shares rose amid reports that it was under scrutiny from potential buyers including Bayer of Germany.
Warner Chilcott, which reported net income of $171m last year on sales of $2.6bn, specialises in US branded products for women’s healthcare, gastroenterology, dermatology and urology.