Abcam agrees $5.7bn US takeover deal

After its founder demanded a new strategy, an American group will take over one of Britain’s top life sciences companies in a $5.7billion deal.

Abcam, based in Cambridge, is a leading global supplier of pharmaceutical research. It was quoted on Nasdaq – the New York stock market that is heavily geared towards technology – and it agreed to accept a $24 per share offer from Danaher, under which the company would continue as an independent entity within its parent group.

The offer represents a premium of 2.7% over its closing price from last week. Abcam shares dropped by 4.3 percent, or $1.01 to $22.35 last night on Wall Street.

Abcam, founded in 1998, is a major supplier of antibodies and materials to the life sciences sector. It has approximately 750,000 customers. The group serves customers on more than 130 different markets.

Jonathan Milner, Abcam founder and owner of a 6.1% stake in the company, joined other activist shareholders, including Starboard value hedge fund to call for the sale of the business. He called for a vote by shareholders to decide whether he would be the executive chairman of Abcam this summer, but his campaign was ended when it became known that other parties were interested in buying the company.

Peter Allen, the 67-year-old chairman of Abcam said that Danaher’s purchase “maximizes value for shareholders”.

Danaher is a conglomerate with a market capitalization of $190 billion that specializes in medical products and services. In recent years, Danaher has acquired a number of companies. The Washington-based firm bought General Electric’s life sciences division for $21.4 billion back in 2014 and Aldevron (a manufacturer of proteins and DNA used by the biotechnology sector) for $9.6billion in 2021.

Danaher shares rose by 2.3%, or $5.97 to close at $261.50.

Rainer Blair (58), president and CEO of Danaher said: “Abcam has a long history of innovation and outstanding product quality. Their antibody portfolio is also broad and diverse. This makes them a valuable partner to the scientific community.” We are looking forward to welcoming Abcam’s innovative and talented staff to Danaher.”

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