U.S. laboratory equipment maker Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. agreed to buy Qiagen NV, a Dutch maker of tests for diseases including cancer and the new coronavirus, for about 9 billion euros ($10 billion) in the biggest health-care acquisition so far this year.
Investors will get 39 euros in cash for every Qiagen share, Thermo Fisher said. That’s 23% higher than Monday’s closing price. Qiagen also sells products for food and forensic testing. Bloomberg earlier reported the companies were nearing a deal after reviving discussions that broke off late last year.
The purchase would rank as one of Thermo Fisher’s largest after the company spent $13.6 billion for Life Technologies Corp. to gain DNA-testing capabilities in 2014. Deals have heated up in the industry after a slow start to the year, with this coming one day after Gilead Sciences Inc. agreed to buy Forty Seven Inc. for about $4.9 billion to advance into cancer treatments.
Qiagen shares surged as much as 22% in Frankfurt, the biggest gain in almost two decades. Thermo Fisher said the purchase will boost its earnings per share immediately after the deal is closed, which is expected in the first half of 2021. The company expects synergies of $200 million in the third year after completion.
Thermo Fisher will assume 1.26 billion euros in net debt, and it will finance the purchase through cash, bridge financing and new debt.
When a new coronavirus emerged out of China in January, Qiagen got to work on a test to detect the virus in bodily fluids. The test is now being evaluated at four hospitals in China and one in France. The diagnostic gives results in about one hour.
Qiagen’s stock took a hit last October as Chief Executive Officer Peer Schatz announced he would step down after 15 years at the helm and the Dutch company slashed its forecast for quarterly sales growth.
The testing company started exploring options after receiving approaches from several possible buyers, then ended them in December, saying the proposals weren’t compelling enough. Qiagen said its board backs the Thermo Fisher transaction.
JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley are advising Thermo Fisher. Qiagen hired Goldman Sachs and Barclays Bank.