Roche buys US diagnostics firm Ventana for $3.4 billion
Roche reaches deal to buy Ventana Medical Systems after raising its offer by 19% per share.
22 January 2008
BASEL - Roche Holding AG said Tuesday it will acquire US-based medical diagnostic product maker Ventana Medical Systems Inc. for US$3.4 billion.
The deal was reached after Roche raised its offer per share by about 19% to US$89.50 from US$75, the Swiss pharmaceuticals company said.
Ventana's board of directors, which had previously rejected Roche's advances, will recommend that shareholders accept the offer, according to a joint statement by the two companies.
Ventana will keep its headquarters in Tucson, Arizona, while its chief executive Christopher Gleeson will join the board of Roche's diagnostics division, the statement said.
Roche shares were down 0.4% at 193 Swiss francs (US$175.46; 121.06) on the Zurich exchange.
Analysts said the increased offer from Roche came as no surprise. The Swiss company has been trying to take over Ventana since June, and extended its offer five times before clinching the deal.
"The higher price despite market turbulences is somewhat mitigated by the lower value of the U.S. dollar," analysts at Zuercher Kantonalbank said, adding that Roche can now add tissue diagnostics to its portfolio.
Roche chief executive Franz Humer told a telephone conference that Ventana would ideally complement his company's existing diagnostics division.
Ventana has 800 employees and achieved sales of US$238.2 million in 2006. The company develops and sells instruments and chemicals used to automatically prepare tissue samples for cancer screening and the testing of new drugs.[Copyright ap 2008]