GE to Purchase Whatman for $713 Million

Whatman CEO Kieran Murphy, who joined the company in January 2007 (see IBO 1/31/07) will continue to lead the business, which will operate as a separate business from GE Life Sciences, following the acquisition. GE’s acquisition of one of the largest providers of laboratory filtration products gives it a consumables business that promises profitable growth, as well as access to Whatman’s customers. It also adds sample preparation products to GE Life Sciences’ product portfolio, a natural fit for extending GE’s role in the laboratory workflow.

Chalfont, St. Giles and Maidstone, England 2/4/08—GE Healthcare has agreed to purchase Whatman for approximately $713 million, or 270 pence per share, in cash (see IBO 1/15/08), a 12% premium over the stock’s February 1 closing price. Whatman supplies laboratory filtration and other sample preparation products for life science and medical applications, including membranes, chromatography media and DNA storage technology. “Whatman’s expertise and reputation in filtration technologies and sample preparation is a great fit for our Life Sciences business because it brings new technologies that are fundamental to helping researchers increase their understanding of the role of genes and proteins in disease,” stated Peter Ehrenheim, president and CEO of GE Healthcare Life Sciences. Whatman’s directors and the company’s largest shareholder, Hermes Focus Asset Management, which owns 15% of outstanding shares, have recommended the acquisition. The transaction is expected to be completed in the second quarter.

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