Alere shakes up boardroom, embarks on strategic review

Still finding its footing after irked investors mounted a proxy challenge last year, Alere ($ALR) is shuffling its top ranks and setting out on a review of its operations, a move that could spell more divestitures.

The Waltham, MA, diagnostics outfit is separating the roles of CEO and chairman of the board, removing chief exec Ron Zwanziger from the latter post and appointing board member Gregg Powers in his place. Powers joined Alere's board after the company successfully fended off an activist investor in August, and he serves as CEO of Private Capital Management, which is a "significant Alere stockholder," the company said.

At the same, Alere revealed that it is "undertaking a comprehensive review of its strategy and operations to identify opportunities to enhance shareholder value," staying mum on details but saying it plans to recruit a consultant organization to help out "in the near future."

That could mean the debt-logged company is looking to accelerate its planned restructuring. Last year, Alere averted a challenge from an activist investor that wanted it to sell off a sizable chunk of its business and use the cash to retire its roughly $3.4 billion in outstanding debt, and while the company has rejected any sweeping initiatives on that front, it has plans of its own to trim down.

Last week, Alere announced an effort to spin out its BBI Diagnostics segment into a standalone entity, plotting a U.K. IPO for the maker of reagents, immunoassays, home fertility products and animal health diagnostics. The business brought in about $146.3 million in revenue last year, Alere said.

Meanwhile, Alere's bottom line is suffering. The company took an $11.5 million loss last quarter as revenue fell 3% to $716.6 million.

- read the statement

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