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Affymetrix, eBioscience Remain in Talks over Proposed Acquisition

By Tony Fong

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Nearly two weeks after an exclusivity period expired, Affymetrix remains in talks to acquire eBioscience, a company official said today.

Doug Farrell, vice president of investor relations for Affymetrix, told GenomeWeb Daily News that although the exclusivity period for Affy lapsed at the end of the day on March 31, neither firm has canceled the acquisition agreement announced in November, and they remain in ongoing discussions regarding a deal.

Closure on the matter is expected "in short order," Farrell said.

When Affy announced the $330 million proposed acquisition of eBioscience, a San Diego-based cytometry and reagent firm, Affy said that it was expected to close by the end of 2011.

However, Tang Capital sued Affy in late-December, alleging the deal constituted a fundamental change under the indenture governing senior convertible notes held by Tang. Affy settled with Tang a month ago and repurchased $92 million of senior notes in connection with the settlement.

As a result of lawsuit and settlement, the deal was delayed and financing for it has had to be restructured. GE Capital, Healthcare Financial Services issued a commitment letter to Affy in November, and although the letter has not been terminated, no financing agreement has been reached yet, Farrell said.

Affy, eBioscience, and financing sources continue to negotiate arrangements that could lead to completion of the deal, he added.

Even before the exclusivity period ended, Affy had released eBioscience from certain obligations under the purchase agreement, it said in its Form 10-K in February. It added at the time that "we understand that eBioscience is considering alternatives to the merger."

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