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Accelrys Completes Merger with Symyx; Will Cut up to 15 Percent of Combined Workforce

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Accelrys this week completed its all-stock merger with Symyx Technologies, forming a scientific informatics company with more than 1,350 customers and annual revenues of approximately $170 million.

The new firm will do business under the name of Accelrys and will trade on the Nasdaq stock exchange under the symbol ACCL.

In documents filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission after the merger, Accelrys disclosed that it plans to lay off approximately 80 employees, or between 10 percent and 15 percent of new entity's combined workforce.

The company said it expects to incur total cash charges of between $7.7 million and $8.2 million relating to the layoffs, including cash charges of between $4 million and $4.5 million in severance and related costs, around $3.5 million in transition services costs, and $200,000 in outplacement assistance costs.

"These actions are intended to eliminate redundancies in the company's workforce as a result of the merger and to streamline the company's operations following the merger," Accelrys said in the SEC filing.

The company began the layoffs on July 1, the day the merger closed, and will continue to implement the reduction in workforce through Dec. 31.

Max Carnecchia will continue to serve as Accelrys CEO and Isy Goldwasser, CEO of Symyx, will continue as an advisor through the transition. "The balance of our management team includes members from both companies," Accelrys said.

Following the completion of the merger, the company increased the size of its board of directors to ten members, including four former directors of Symyx: Steven Goldby, Timothy Harkness, Chris van Ingen, and Bruce Pasternack.

Shareholders for Accelrys and Symyx approved the merger on June 30 following several weeks of negotiations between Symyx and another suitor, Certara, during which Symyx rejected a series of bids from the parent firm of Tripos International and Pharsight (BI 6/25/10).

This week, one day prior to the shareholder meeting, Symyx's board rejected Certara's "best and final" offer to acquire Symyx for $5.75 per share in cash.

Under the terms of the agreement with Accelrys, Symyx shareholders received approximately 0.7802 shares of Accelrys common stock for each share of Symyx common stock they own, or approximately $5.19 per share based on Accelrys's closing share price on July 1.

Accelrys and Symyx stockholders each own approximately 50 percent of the combined company following the merger.

A Stable Product Roadmap

In April, when Accelrys announced its plans to merge with Symyx, Carnecchia described the deal as an opportunity to create a scientific informatics company with a more "holistic" offering than either firm was able to provide alone (BI 4/9/10).

Accelrys brings to the combined firm a portfolio of modeling and simulation tools for drug discovery as well as its Pipeline Pilot workflow platform, while Symyx brings its electronic laboratory notebook business and a suite of cheminformatics tools and databases that picked up as part of its acquisition of MDL Information Systems in 2007.

"Pipeline Pilot, in combination with the electronic lab notebook that would come from Symyx, along with their strengths in data management, specifically the leading cheminformatics solution they have, along with the biological registration and biological informatics solution that we have — those things, just to name a few, put together a much more holistic, a much more complete, open, flexible platform for customers to take advantage of as their processes change, as their markets change," Carnecchia said at the time.

In a "frequently asked questions" document posted on its website this week, Accelrys said that due to the "complementary" nature of the companies' product portfolios, it anticipates that "most product roadmaps will remain in place."

The company added that "in the few places where products have some overlap, a new combined roadmap will be created and communicated to customers and prospects."

In addition, Accelrys said that it is evaluating options for a new "go-forward brand" for the combined firm, though it did not elaborate.

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