Millipore Corp. (NYSE:MIL) shares soared as much as 43 percent today after news reports that Thermo Fisher Scientific (NYSE:TMO) is considering a $6 billion unsolicited bid for the Billerica, Mass.-based company.
Bloomberg News, citing a person familiar with the situation, said Millipore recently hired Goldman Sachs as its financial adviser after receiving the bid and that a deal could be agreed on as early as next week. The news service said the person did not want to be identified because the talks are not yet public.
The reported $6 billion offer would work out to be about $106.50 a share, based on Millipore’s nearly 56.5 million shares outstanding.
The combined companies would generate about $11.8 billion in yearly revenues. With $10.1 billion in sales last year, Thermo Fisher is the decidedly bigger company, but saw revenues dip 3.7 percent last year. Millipore recently reported $1.65 billion in 2009 revenues, up about 3 percent.
Thermo Fisher has never been shy about making acquisitions, spending $650 million during 2009 to acquire complementary companies and technologies. The buying has only continued thus far into the new year, with the company announcing plans to buy handheld spectrometer maker Ahuara Scientific for $145 million and a deal to buy Finnish polymerase chain reaction equipment maker Finnzyme for an unspecified amount earlier this month.
Despite the heavy spending, TMO finished 2009 with over $1.5 billion in cash and nearly $1.5 billion in free cash flow, which is net income less the cost of acquisitions and equipment as well as depreciation and amortization. Thermo Fisher recently has been moving to rework some of the debt amassed from previous deal-making, in December selling $750 million in new three- and five-year notes to buy back $600 million in debt acquired as part of the 2006 merger between Fisher Scientific and Thermo Electron.
Millipore shares briefly pushed past $100 per share shortly after initial reports broke that a deal may be in the works. The price settled back to $86 — still nearly $14, or 20 percent, higher on the day — by 2 p.m.