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MDS, Life Technologies Complete Divestitures

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – MDS and Life Technologies have completed the sale of their mass spectrometry joint venture and MDS Analytical Technologies to Danaher.

Danaher inked the deal in September to acquire the business for a total of $1.1 billion. The Washington, DC-based conglomerate, which has been building its presence in the life sciences space over the past few years, paid MDS $650 million in cash for MDS Analytical Technologies and paid Life Technologies $450 million in cash for its share in the joint venture.

MDS said that it will return between $400 million and $450 million of the sale proceeds to shareholders by way of a share buyback through a Substantial Issuer Bid, which will be initiated within the next 30 days.

Danaher intends to operate the businesses within its Danaher Medical Technologies segment, which includes its Leica, Radiometer, Sybron, and KaVo businesses. In total, Danaher expects to bring in revenues of more than $2 billion per year from its life sciences and diagnostics products.

The mass spec business has taken on the operating name of AB Sciex.

The acquisition recently received provisional approval from the US Federal Trade Commission, which said that MDS must sell its Arcturus laser microdissection business to Life Technologies as a condition of approving the deal.

Life Technologies said that the sale of the mass spec business is not expected to affect its 2009 and 2010 earnings expectations. Last week, the firm reported fourth-quarter revenues of $874.1 million, up 14 percent year over year. The mass spec operations had revenues of $130 million during the quarter, also up 14 percent.

For MDS, the divestiture of its Analytical Technologies business is part of a broader strategic positioning, in which the company will focus entirely on its MDS Nordion business, which provides medical isotopes for molecular and diagnostic imaging.

In addition to selling MDS Analytical Technologies, the firm is selling its MDS Pharma Services division. The firm recently said that it "continues to have discussions with interested parties" regarding the sale of that business. It also said that if there was not an acceptable transaction available for Pharma Services, it "intends to retain and invest in building the business."

"The divestiture of the MDS Analytical Technologies business marks a significant milestone in the company's repositioning strategy and enables a substantial return of proceeds from the sale to shareholders," MDS CEO Steve West said in a statement.

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