BREAKING NEWS: Invitrogen to acquire Applied Bio for $6.7 billion

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CARLSBAD, Calif.—Invitrogen Corp. and Applera Corp. this morning announced a merger plan that will see Invitrogen acquire all the shares of Applera's Applied Biosystems Group in a cash and stock transaction valued at $38 per share or approximately $6.7 billion. (see company press release here) Applied Bio shareholders will receive the $38-per-share as a combination of 55 percent in Invitrogen shares and the remaining 45 percent in cash. The per-share price represents a 17 percent premium over Applied Biosystems' closing price Wednesday. Shares of Invitrogen were trading down roughly 5 percent at 11 a.m. on the news.

Once the deal is finalized, expected this fall, the merged company will operate under the name Applied Biosystems with its home base here, Invitrogen's current corporate headquarters. Invitrogen Chairman and CEO Greg Lucier will maintain both titles with the merged company, as will Applied Bio President and COO Mark Stevenson.

"This transaction combines the industry's premier consumables provider with the industry's premier systems provider to create a world-class biotechnology tools company," said Lucier, in a press release. "With this acquisition, we are nearly doubling our consumables business as almost half of Applied Biosystems' revenues are consumable in nature. It also provides significant value creating opportunities for customers, shareholders and employees alike."

In all, the combined company will employ more than 9,700 workers, 3,000 of whom are sales and service personnel, and will have presence in more than 100 countries.

The move to merge Applied Biosystems with Invitrogen comes amidst many months of work and analysis by Applera to find a way to create separate, independently traded public entities for both Applied Biosystems and sister company Celera Group versus their current status as tracking stocks under the Applera umbrella.

Earlier this year, Applera retained investment banking firm Morgan Stanley, as advisors to explore ways to maximize value Applied Bio shareholders. In previous company press releases and registrations with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Applera has stated that it hoped to have made a definitive decision on how this would be accomplished by June 30.

Tony L. White, Chairman and CEO of Applera, said in a prepared statement announcing the deal, "The Applera Board, with the assistance of its independent financial advisors, has thoroughly reviewed a range of strategic alternatives. We are pleased this transaction provides attractive immediate value for Applera-Applied Biosystems shareholders as well as the ability to participate in future upside potential. It also enhances our ability to serve the needs of our customers and positions us for long-term success in the highly competitive and rapidly evolving life sciences field."

For more complete coverage of this deal, please see the July issue of DDN.

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