Danaher’s $83.50-per-share offer is a 29.5 percent premium over that price and tops the pre-merger-announcement price by 46.3 percent. The Washington-based industrial conglomerate will fold Beckman Coulter into its $2.3-billion life sciences & diagnostics segment, joining Danaher’s stable of healthcare brands including Leica, AB Sciex and Radiometer and Molecular Devices businesses (Danaher also has a $1.8-billion dental segment). The deal is slated to close during the first half of this year.
Reports that Beckman Coulter was on the auction block began to surface in December, with speculation that the company was drawing interest from competitors and private equity firms. BEC shares jumped 26.3 percent that day and have averaged nearly $74 apiece since then, up 30 percent. The herd soon thinned, however, with some potential bidders dropping out and others looking at banding together.
Beckman president and CEO Bob Hurley, calling the bidding process "very comprehensive and competitive," said the deal augments his firm’s footprint in the hospital laboratory market.
The buyout follows a rough year for Beckman Coulter, which suffered through consecutive quarters of poor financial results, an expensive recall and the resignation of CEO Scott Garrett in September 2010.
But the company began to turn it around during the third quarter, posting profits of $67.0 million, or 95 cents per share, on sales of $893.8 million during the three months ended Sept. 30. That compares with earnings of $1.5 million, or 2 cents per share, on sales of $822.8 million during the same period last year.
BEC shares were trading at $82.72in pre-market activity, up more than 10 percent. Danaher shares ticked down to $47.78 in pre-market trading.