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Beckman Coulter Stock Soars as it Reportedly Seeks Buyer

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Shares of Beckman Coulter shot up more than 27 percent amid reports that it is looking for a buyer.

In early morning trading, shares of the Orange County, Calif.-based life science instrument, reagents, and diagnostics firm shot up to $72.77 after the Wall Street Journal reported it was shopping for a buyer in a sale that could fetch more than $5 billion.

The reported sale comes amid an unsettled period for the company. In February, Beckman Coulter told customers of a positive bias in results from its Accutnl troponin test kits run on the UniCel Dxl immunoassay system and eventually recalled the test.

Afterward, during the summer, the company lowered its full-year 2010 revenue and earnings expectations, citing "quality challenges in the US market, weakness in demand from life science markets and reduced expectations for our cellular business."

Scott Garrett resigned from Beckman Coulter as president, CEO, and chairman in September after eight years at the firm, replaced on an interim basis by J. Robert Hurley.

In an analyst note, Quintin Lai at R.W Baird said that Beckman Coulter recently said at an investor conference that while customer defections have been low so far, more defections could happen in 2011 and the firm could have difficult adding new ones in the US.

"Without visibility into troponin timeline resolution, BEC's once-steady growth pattern could be disrupted for 2011 and, possibly, 2012," Lai wrote.

According to WSJ, Goldman Sachs is running the sales process, which began a few weeks ago, and added that if Beckman Coulter does not receive a satisfactory offer, it could call off the sale.

As of the end of Thursday, Beckman Coulter had a market capitalization of $3.95 billion.

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