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Agilent Board OKs Keysight Split, Names McMullen as Sullivan Successor

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Agilent Technologies said after the close of the market Wednesday that its board of directors has approved the separation of Keysight Technologies, the new name for its electronic measurement subsidiary, from the firm and has named a successor to current CEO Bill Sullivan.

Under the split, Agilent shareholders will receive one share of Keysight common stock for every two shares of Agilent common stock held. The shareholders will receive cash in lieu of fractional shares, Agilent said. The dividend will be paid on Nov. 1 to shareholders of record as of the close of business on Oct. 22, and will complete the formal separation of the electronic measurement business from Agilent.

"As separate companies, Agilent and Keysight will have greater flexibility to focus on and pursue their own growth strategies and capital needs, while potentially providing shareholders with greater value over the longer term," Sullivan said in a statement.

Agilent announced a year ago its intention to split the firm into two publicly-traded companies — one focused on its life science and diagnostics business and the other on its electronic measurement business.

Keysight is expected to begin trading on the on the New York Stock Exchange on Nov. 3 under ticket symbol KEYS.

Agilent also noted that it will pay its shareholders a quarterly dividend of $.132 per share of common stock, which will be paid on Oct. 22 to shareholders of record as of the close of business on Sept. 30.

Separately, Agilent announced that Mike McMullen, currently SVP of Agilent and president of the firm's Chemical Analysis Group, will become CEO of Agilent Technologies on March 18, 2015. Current CEO Sullivan will remain an advisor to the firm through its fiscal year ending Oct. 31, 2015, when he will retire.

Effective immediately, McMullen has been named president and COO.

In addition, Agilent announced that it has created a new services and consumables organization called the Agilent CrossLab Group. The new group will be led by Mark Doak as group president. He has been serving as senior VP and GM of the Services and Support Division.

In early Thursday trade on the NYSE, shares of Agilent were up nearly 1 percent at $59.36.