Abbott, Alere bury the hatchet, agree on new acquisition terms

Handshake
After months of squirming, Abbott has agreed to acquire Alere for $5.3 billion, down from the $5.8 billion it initially signed off on.

Abbott and Alere have grappled for months over the former’s $5.8 billion deal to acquire the latter. Now, the pair has reached new terms for the acquisition and agreed to dismiss their respective lawsuits.

Under the new terms, Abbott will fork over $51 per common share, bringing the deal’s value down to $5.3 billion, according to a statement. The agreement, set to close in the third quarter, comes more than a year after Abbott first agreed to acquire Alere. The devicemaker spent most of this time seeking to exit the deal.

Abbott first announced in February last year that it would pick up the diagnostics maker to bolster its point-of-care offerings. But the company soon wanted out because of a foreign corruption probe into Alere’s dealings. Worried that it might inherit the liability for Alere’s alleged wrongdoing, Abbott offered a $50 million breakup fee, which Alere rejected in April.

In August, Alere filed a complaint in Delaware Chancery Court to try to force the acquisition.

“Alere will take all actions necessary to protect the interests of Alere shareholders, enforce Alere’s rights under the merger agreement and compel Abbott to complete the transaction in accordance with its terms,” the diagnostics maker said at the time.

Four months later, Abbott retaliated, filing to terminate the acquisition due to a “substantial loss” in Alere’s value since the pair first struck the deal.

“Alere is no longer the company Abbott agreed to buy 10 months ago," said Scott Stoffel, divisional vice president of external communications at Abbott, at the time. "These numerous negative developments are unprecedented and are not isolated incidents brought on by chance. We have attempted to secure details and information to assess these issues for months, and Alere has blocked every attempt."