Danaher closes in on $21bn GE takeover after FTC approval

Danaher says the GE Biopharma takeover will complete this month after US competition authorities grant conditional approval for the $21.4 billion deal.

The condition imposed by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is that Danaher sells some bioprocessing technologies and products.

The Commission announced its decision on March 20, explaining the original deal would have unfairly reduced competition.

GE acquisition set to go as monopoly commission gives the thumbs up. Image: iStock/martince2

The divested techs will include microcarrier beads, various chromatography columns and skids, single use tangential flow filtration systems, label-fee molecular characterization instruments and chromatography resins.

Of the latter the FTC said, “GE and Danaher have competitively significant overlaps in three resin markets: affinity resins, ion exchange resins, and mixed mode resins.

“GE is the dominant supplier of chromatography resins, and Danaher is a significant, independent competitor.”

Competition

Danaher announced its intention to buy  for Biopharma – the biopharma division of GE Healthcare – in February 2019, citing a desire to build its presence in the bioprocessing space following the 2015 acquisition of Pall.

The transaction has also been cleared by the European Commission and the Brazilian, Chinese, Israeli, Japanese, Korean and Russian antitrust authorities.

According to Evercore ISI analyst Vijay Kumar, the conditions imposed by the US FTC are in line with those stipulated by regulators elsewhere.

He wrote, “Looking at the FTC order, we think the product lines highlighted are similar to what the Chinese Regulatory authorities had asked.

Kumar said he does not expect any additional divestitures will be needed.

According to GE, the transaction is now expected to close on March 31, 2020.

Sartorius deal

Danaher lined up Sartorius as a buyer for the bioprocessing systems and technologies in question in October agreeing a $750 million deal.

Sartorius welcomed the US FTC’s decision, describing it as “an important milestone for the transaction originally announced in October 2019.

However, Sartorius also pointed out that its acquisition of Danaher’s assets is still subject to clearance by the Chinese antitrust enforcement authority.

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