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FTC: MDS Must Sell Arcturus Business to Life Technologies to Proceed with Danaher Deal

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The US Federal Trade Commission today said that it has ordered MDS to sell its Arcturus laser microdissection business to Life Technologies as a condition of approving its deal to sell its MDS Analytical Technologies unit to Danaher.

The FTC said that the sale would "resolve FTC charges that Danaher's acquisition of MDS Analytical Technologies would harm competition in the North American market for laser microdissection devices." It noted that Danaher and MDS are two of only four North American suppliers of such devices.

The acquisition would have combined Danaher's Leica brand of devices with MDS's Arcturus brand, which the FTC said would have led to increased prices and decreased innovation for this type of equipment. In addition, it contended that entry by a new firm into the field would be unlikely to offset the anticompetitive effects of the proposed acquisition.

The sale of the business to Life Technologies will clear the path for Danaher to complete its $1.1 billion acquisition of MDS Analytical Technologies, as well as the mass spectrometry joint venture of MDS and Life Technologies. MDS is to receive $650 million of that $1.1 billion, with Life Technologies getting the rest.

The FTC said that under the proposed order, Danaher and MDS must sell to Life Technologies all of the products and equipment that Life Technologies needs to run the laser microdissection business. In addition, all key Arcturus employees must be made available to Life Technologies, as well as any other employees who may be needed to ensure the divestiture is a success. MDS must also "provide Life Technologies with all of the intellectual property and patent licenses necessary to compete immediately in the North American laser microdissection market."

The FTC will accept comments on the proposed order until March 1, after which it will decide whether to make the order final.

In a statement issued this afternoon, MDS called the provisional anti-trust approval "significant milestone" toward closing the deal with Danaher. The firms expect to complete the transaction by the end of the first quarter of 2010.

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