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Qiagen Makes $100M Bid to Acquire Exiqon

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Qiagen announced after the close of the market Tuesday that it is making a bid to acquire Danish life science research tool and molecular diagnostics firm Exiqon for approximately DKK683 million ($103.5 million).

After having discussed its interest in the acquisition with Exiqon's board of directors earlier this year, Qiagen has now submitted a voluntary conditional public takeover offer to buy all of Exiqon's shares for DKK18 per share. This represents a premium of 41.7 percent to Exiqon's closing price on Nasdaq Copenhagen on March 29, and a premium of 52.9 percent to the stock's average closing price in the three months leading up to and including the date of the offer, Qiagen said.

Extraordinary costs related to the offer, if accepted by the shareholders, will include financial and legal advisory fees as well as a transaction bonus to the executive management under a program granted by the board of directors in October 2015 at a total of approximately DKK25 million to DKK30 million.

Qiagen plans to issue an official offer document within four weeks once it has been approved by the Danish Financial Supervisory Authority. In a statement, Exiqon said that its board of directors will recommend that shareholders approve the offer, subject to certain terms of conditions. Qiagen intends to purchase all Exiqon shares and delist the stock from Nasdaq Copenhagen.

Qiagen said that it expects the acquisition to expand its position in the RNA analysis field. Founded in 1995 and headquartered in Vedbaek, Denmark, Exiqon focuses on non-coding RNA such as microRNA and long non-coding RNA, functionally important molecules that have shown promise in cellular function and regulation. Specifically, Exiqon provides sample and assay technologies, bioinformatics solutions, and a portfolio of proprietary technologies and know-how in molecular testing, including locked nucleic acids, which greatly improve the specificity and sensitivity of PCR, next-generation sequencing target enrichment, and functional assays.

Exiqon has around 100 employees at sites in Denmark and the US, and reported last month that its fourth quarter 2015 revenues jumped 36 percent year over year to DKK46.6 million, while its full-year 2015 net sales rose 23 percent to approximately DKK162 million. The company confirmed its full-year 2016 guidance of total revenue of DKK180 million to DKK185 million, driven by around 20 percent growth in sales of products and services, excluding OEM revenues.