5/2/18 London, UK; 5/2/18 London, UK; 5/8/18 London, UK; 5/9/18—Antibody maker Abcam’s unsolicited proposal to acquire gene editing firm Horizon Discovery for a total value of approximately £270 million ($370 million) has been rejected by the Board of Horizon Discovery and withdrawn by Abcam less than a week later. In withdrawing the offer, Abcam stated, “Having considered those results and Horizon Discovery's statement on 2 May 2018 regarding the Board of Horizon Discovery's view that there is little strategic rationale to combining the two companies, Abcam confirms that it does not intend to make an offer for Horizon Discovery.” Abcam withdrew the offer on May 9. This is one day after Horizon Discovery announced its 2017 annual results (see Bottom Line) and named Terry Pizzie, head of Commercial Operations, as the new CEO. The offer price of £1.81 ($2.48 = £0.73 = $1) per share was a 25.7% premium to Horizon Discovery’s closing share price on May 1, the day prior to the public disclosure of the offer, and would have been payable in Abcam shares. In rejecting the offer, Horizon Discovery cited the offer as representing a 1.5% discount to its six month volume-weighted average share price of £1.84 ($2.52) and “little strategic rationale.” The company stated, “The Board of Horizon Discovery Group considers the Unsolicited Proposal to be highly opportunistic and believes that it fundamentally undervalues the Company and its future prospects.” In making the offer announcement, Abcam had stated, “Accordingly, Abcam is seeking to engage with Horizon Discovery in a constructive dialogue and is announcing the Proposal as a means to encourage and further that process.” Horizon Discovery posted 14.1% organic revenue growth in 2017, in addition to the record growth generated by its purchase of Dharmacon (se IBO 3/31/17). Operating loss expanded to £13.9 million ($17.8 million = £0.78 = $1) from £12.4 million ($15.9 million). As of December 31, the company had cash and cash equivalents of £28.1 million ($36.0 million). Abcam’s offer hints at its willingness to expand into the genomics market. Abcam had stated at the time of the offer’s announcement that the offer was intended to encourage conversations between the companies. However, Horizon Discovery’s quick rejection of the offer may have dissuaded Abcam from a pursuit.

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