Corning offers $730M for majority of BD labware unit

You may know Corning ($GLW) for its glass and ceramics, but it also has a thriving life sciences unit. And to expand this unit's reach, Corning this morning announced that it will obtain the majority of Becton, Dickinson's ($BDX) Discovery Labware unit for roughly $730 million in cash.

Corning hopes to augment its life sciences portfolio in the areas of drug discovery tools, bioprocess solutions and laboratory research instruments through the acquisition, which is expected to be completed this year.

Under the agreement, Corning will integrate four of the Discovery Labware unit's main product platforms--plastic consumable labware, liquid-handling products, cell-based assays and cell cultureware, and ADME research--into its life sciences business segment.

Both sides expressed enthusiasm about the deal. "This sale will enable our BD Biosciences segment to focus resources and management attention on both our recent Biosciences acquisitions and our recently launched new instrumentation products, which are essential to our accelerated growth efforts," said BD Executive Vice President William Kozy in a statement.

Wendell Weeks, Corning's chairman, president and CEO, said the buy will greatly improve his company's life sciences offerings. "With sales of approximately $235 million, the acquisition will expand Corning Life Sciences' annual revenues by 40% and catapult the segment toward its goal of being a $1 billion business by 2014. And, the acquisition provides added momentum for Corning to achieve our $10 billion revenue target in the next few years," he added.

As Dow Jones points out, Corning is the largest maker of liquid-crystal-display glass for television sets. But TV sales have been declining, and the company's profits have taken a hit--down 53% in the fourth quarter. So other arenas, including life sciences, could provide the answer for improved profits in the future.

- see the Corning release
- read BD's statement
- get Dow Jones' take (sub. req.)