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July 27, 2009
Updated for print August 3, 2009, p. 7


Agilent To Acquire Varian For $1.5 Billion

Deal brings Agilent a line of atomic and molecular spectroscopy instruments, and bolsters its push into the bioanalytical instrumentation market

Marc S. Reisch

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Technician examines microarray slide used to detect chromosomal abnormalities. Agilent
Technician examines microarray slide used to detect chromosomal abnormalities.

Agilent Technologies has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Varian for $1.5 billion in cash. The transaction, expected to close by the end of this year, will create a $6.8 billion instrumentation and consumables firm.

William P. Sullivan, Agilent's CEO says, "The acquisition is a major step in Agilent's transformation into a leading bioanalytical measurement company. While we continue to be a world leader in electronic measurement, our biggest opportunities for future growth are in bio-analytical measurement."

Varian CEO Gary Rogerson, says the $52 per share deal, which represents a premium of 35% to Varian’s closing price on July 24, "delivers excellent value for our shareholders." The combined company will provide a comprehensive set of solutions for energy, environmental, and life sciences customers, he notes.

Santa Clara, Calif.-based Agilent, spun out of computer maker Hewlett-Packard in 1999, is a maker of electronic test gear as well as chemical, pharmaceutical, and forensic analysis tools such as gas chromatographs and mass spectrometers and the reagents and lab automation tools to make them work. Varian, based in Palo Alto, Calif, will expand Agilent’s product portfolio into atomic and molecular spectroscopy. It will also allow Agilent to enter the market for nuclear magnetic resonance, image, and vacuum technology.

Adrian Dillon, Agilent's chief financial officer, will lead the combination of Varian with Agilent. "We have the opportunity to create significant value for Agilent shareholders by leveraging the combined entity's infrastructure and global supply chain," he says. Agilent expects to save $75 million annually from cost synergies.

A spokeswoman for Agilent says it is premature to talk about cuts to personnel because of the combination. Varian had 3,600 employees and Agilent had 19,000 employees at the end of 2008, though in March Agilent said it would cut 2,700 jobs in its electronic measurement segment. The firm is putting together a task force to examine personnel and other issues such as site consolidation, the spokeswoman adds.

Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
Copyright © 2011 American Chemical Society
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