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Bayer Wraps Up Visible Genetics Acquisition

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NEW YORK, Oct. 14 - Bayer today said it has closed its acquisition of Visible Genetics, giving itself a broader foothold in the infectious disease-diagnostics market.


Through the acquisition, originally announced in July, Bayer's diagnostics division will gain VGI's OpenGene DNA-sequencing systems and Trugene HIV genotyping assay line, the only genetic viral-resistance test available for HIV in the US.


Terms of the deal call for Bayer to spend around $61.4 million for Toronto-based VGI by scooping up all of the company's outstanding shares for $1.50 apiece, and by buying all of its Series A preferred shares at par plus accrued dividends.

A Bayer spokesman said no decision has yet been made regarding VGI's 350-person-strong workforce, or the company's facilities and operating companies in the UK, France, Spain, Italy, Portugal, and Israel. The spokesman, Kit Newton, told GenomeWeb this morning that the two firms have "integration teams who will determine the best melding, and we would hope to have all of these decisions made by the end of the year."


The acquisition marks the end of a journey undertaken by the Canadian company last spring when it abruptly put itself up for sale. "While VGI is committed to acting in the best interest of its shareholders, the timing and outcome of this process is uncertain," the company said in a statement on May 30.


The decision to sell was made following strategic-planning talks that took place during the winter, according to VGI spokesman Bruno Maruzzo. "Recently one of the options we started considering was an acquisition or a sale," he told GenomeWeb in an interview in May.


A statement made more than a year ago by CEO Richard Daly, who will stay at the firm for six more months as a consultant, was more blunt: "The future of our company lies in the clinical market, not the research market. Research customers using the company's sequencing products order less frequently than clinical customers, and selling to both markets would require separate marketing and distribution networks," said Daly. "The two don't have much in common."

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