Sartorius ready to snap up more Danaher and GE’s assets, if required

Sartorius is poised to further expand its life science portfolio to help facilitate the Danaher and GE Healthcare merger if antitrust authorities deem more divestments necessary.

In February 2019, Danaher entered an agreement to acquire the BioPharma portion of GE Healthcare’s Life Sciences business for $21.4 billion (€19.4 billion). Nearly a year on and the deal is yet to have been approved by antitrust regulators.

Danaher has had to divest various life science assets to help ease the merger, with rival bioprocess vendor Sartorius agreeing to pay $750 million last October to pick up biomolecular characterization business FortéBio and a portfolio of chromatography hardware and resins.

Image: iStock/Roman Didkivskyi

But Sartorius has said it is poised to pick up any other assets the regulators may demand Danaher to divest for the deal to go through.

“The transaction includes businesses for both divisions as well, pretty much also 50/50 from a sales revenue perspective. It includes the bioanalytical tools business according to our vocabulary, it’s pretty much protein analytics the ForteBio business from Pall or Danaher, as well as predominantly downstream technologies also a little bit of upstream technologies that would be added to the Bioprocess Solutions division mainly chromatography business,” Sartorius CEO Joachim Kreuzburg said during his firm’s Q4 earnings call this week.

And while an increased remedy package is speculation, Kreuzburg added: “It’s quite likely that given our positioning in this industry that there would be a fit and some complementarity for such products, so that we would be a suitable purchaser for such products and be a potentially very competitive company to continue such products.”

Any potential additions to a remedy package would unlikely be of a size that would stretch Sartorius’ financial limits, he told investors.

He also commented on when the deal is now likely to close, stating that the “time-intense process” of the antitrust approval means Sartorius expects completion at the end of Q1.

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Kreuzburg also spoke about another recent acquisition on the call: The acquisition of Biological Industries, an Israeli developer and manufacturer of cell culture media, back in December.

“We wanted to build up and own a fully-owned cell culture media business after the exclusivity has been removed from the agreement with Lonza,” he explained.

For six years, Sartorius was granted the exclusive supply and distribution of Lonza’s media and buffers, used in the manufacture of protein-based therapeutics and vaccines, but in November 2018 the terms changed.

The deal saw Sartorius pay around €45 million for just over 50% of the shares. For Sartorius, this gives them access to “an old portfolio,” but Kreuzburg hinted that it will allow the firm to build up its “own manufacturing capacities in the future beyond the one that we now already have in Israel.”

Correction: The original article’s introduction used the phrase “antisense authorities” instead of “antitrust authorities.” The author had been writing a piece about messenger RNA and his mind was elsewhere.

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