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Shares of Gen-Probe Drop on Deal Speculation

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Shares of Gen-Probe were down sharply in Monday afternoon trade on the Nasdaq following a report on the website of The Wall Street Journal claiming the bidding process for the firm isn't going well.

According to the Journal, Novartis is the only remaining bidder for the firm after Life Technologies and Thermo Fisher Scientific backed out, and there is a possibility Novartis may not go through with a deal either. It also said that potential bidders balked at Gen-Probe's expectations of fetching a price in the mid-80s per share or higher.

Novartis already sells Gen-Probe's Tigris blood-screening instrument to blood banks, and it has helped fund development of Gen-Probe's new automated molecular testing platform, called Panther. The firms have collaborated since 1998 on nucleic acid tests and instruments for the blood screening market.

News that Gen-Probe was for sale first emerged in late April, after the firm had reportedly hired Morgan Stanley to seek a buyer. In addition to the firms already mentioned, Danaher was initially listed as a potential buyer.

Gen-Probe had a market cap of around $3.9 billion at the close of the market on Friday.

Its shares closed down nearly 13 percent at $71.41. They had fallen as low as $70.41 earlier in the day.