Danaher to buy Beckman Coulter for $83.50 per share

Danaher Corporation has entered a definitive merger agreement through which it will buy Beckman Coulter ($BEC) for $83.50 per share in cash. The transaction is valued at approximately $6.8 billion, including debt assumed and net of cash acquired. The Beckman board has unanimously recommended that shareholders accept and tender their shares, and the transaction is expected to be completed in the first half of the year.

According to the New York Times, Danaher beat out two private equity consortiums--the Blackstone Group and TPG Capital in one and Apollo Global Management and the Carlyle Group in the other--for Beckman, which would become part of Danaher's Life Sciences & Diagnostics segment. The diverse Danaher makes Craftsman-brand tools for Sears and Husky wrenches for Home Depot, but has been relying on acquisitions to bolster a slow growing revenue base, as the Wall Street Journal reports. In December, Danaher President and CEO H. Lawrence Culp, Jr., said his company would have about $4 billion for acquisitions during the next four to six quarters, Bloomberg notes. And so far this year Danaher announced one purchase agreement, of Belgian software maker EskoArtwork for about $470 million.

"Being part of Danaher, Beckman associates will have the opportunity to leverage the power of the Danaher Business System, including the processes by which Danaher accelerates growth through new product innovation and driving sales, marketing and service, as well as its strength in continuously expanding margins," Culp says in a statement.

Beckman did experience some problems last year. Company CEO Scott Garrett resigned after lower-than-expected earnings, sending down stock prices. And over the summer, the company received an FDA warning letter regarding AccuTnI, which measures the protein tropinin, a marker for heart problems. The agency admonished the company for making "significant modifications" to the product without getting the required clearance.

- read the Danaher release
- see the Beckman release
- get the Bloomberg report
- see the WSJ story
- check out more from the New York Times