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Agilent to Acquire Varian for $1.5B

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Agilent Technologies has inked a definitive agreement to acquire Varian for $52 per share, or a total of around $1.5 billion.

The deal will expand Agilent's presence in the life sciences research and applied markets, such as the environment and energy. Agilent said that it also will expand its product portfolio into atomic and molecular spectroscopy and in other fields including nuclear magnetic resonance, imaging, and vacuum technologies.

"This acquisition is a major step in Agilent's transformation into a leading bio-analytical measurement company," Agilent President and CEO Bill Sullivan said in a statement. "The combination of Varian with Agilent's bio-analytical measurement business will result in the broadest product offering in the industry."

The acquisition price of $52 per share represents a 35 percent premium over Varian's closing price on Friday of $39.20. The boards of directors of both firms have unanimously approved the all-cash offer, said Agilent. Varian's shareholders will need to approve the deal as well.

Following completion of the deal, which is expected by the end of 2009, Agilent CFO Adrian Dillon will be responsible for combining Varian with Agilent's Bio-Analytical Measurement segment consistent with Agilent's operating model. "We have the opportunity to create significant value for Agilent shareholders by leveraging the combined entity's infrastructure and global supply chain," Dillon said in the statement.

Agilent said that it expects the acquisition to generate $75 million in annual cost synergies and achieve the firm's 20 percent return on invested capital target within four to five years.

Varian had annual revenue of around $1 billion for fiscal-year 2008. The firm Palo Alto, Calif.-based firm also reported its third-quarter financial results today. It reported revenues of $196.6 million for the quarter, down around 20 percent.