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Fisher to Acquire Athena for $283M, Buys 9-Percent Stake in Nanogen in Bid to Grow Dx Business

NEW YORK, March 16 (GenomeWeb News) - Aiming to increase its presence in molecular diagnostics, Fisher Scientific will acquire privately held Athena Diagnostics and has paid $15 million in cash for a 9-percent stake in Nanogen, the company said today.


Fisher will pay Athena owner Behrman Capital $283 million for the company, which makes immunohistochemical and molecular diagnostics for neurological, nephrologic, and endocrine diseases, such as Alzheimer's, multiple sclerosis, obesity, and kidney disease.


Terms of the Nanogen equity investment calls for Fisher to buy approximately 5.7 million shares of Nanogen common stock at $2.65 per share, Nanogen said in a separate statement today. The shares closed at $2.52 yesterday on the Nasdaq exchange, meaning that Fisher paid a 5-percent premium for its stake.


At 9 percent, Fisher's stake in Nanogen will by far be the largest of any single investor, according to Yahoo! Finance data, and represents nearly the same ownership as the top three institutional investors who own shares in Nanogen: Legg Mason, Dimensional Fund Advisors, and Barclays Bank together own around 10 percent of Nanogen's stock.


Nanogen and Fisher will collaborate to expand the use of Athena's markers and tests, according to the statement. Nanogen said it will use the proceeds from the stock sale on "working capital, acquisitions and other general corporate purposes."

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