Sartorius buys media firm Xell among ‘lively’ M&A environment

Xell AG is only Sartorius’s second acquisition this year despite CEO Joachim Kreuzburg saying his firm look at numerous &A activities each week.

The €50 million ($60 million) deal sees Sartorius add German firm Xell to its subgroup Sartorius Stedim Biotech, extending its media and feed supplement business for cell cultures. Xell also expands Sartorius’ analytical services for characterizing, screening, and quantifying media components, as well as for optimizing media composition.

“With this acquisition, we are expanding our current media offering specifically by specialized media for manufacturing viral vectors and, additionally, in the area of media analytics. At the same time, we are accelerating the expansion of our production network in this fast-growing area,” said René Fáber, head of the Bioprocess Solutions Division at Sartorius.

Image: iStock/Atstock Productions

The deal came days after Sartorius CEO Joachim Kreuzburg responded to a question about the current bioprocess landscape during the firm’s Q2 financial results call.

“The market for M&A, or M&A opportunities, is as lively as never, so we do see plenty of opportunities,” Kreuzburg said. “We get a number of opportunities typically on our tables every week.”

M&A is rife among bioprocess vendors. Some recent examples include Repligen buying French filtration firm Polymem, and Cytiva buying buffer and cell culture media maker Intermountain Life Sciences.

Sartorius made its first acquisition of 2021 earlier this month, paying around $118 million for reagent manufacturing firm CellGenix.

“The fact that have closed only one so far this year is pretty much because we are very selective. There are most opportunities we don’t believe would be a good enough fit to what we are looking for which is first a very complimentary but still very innovative business that makes our offering more relevant to customers,” Kreuzburg explained.

“And then, of course, it’s also valuation and frankly, of course, valuation for businesses is very, very high at the moment. So, therefore in some cases, we also would say well we believe that the valuation might be too high and then it’s about the cultural fit and our view on how successful integration process can be managed.”

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