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Thermo Fisher to buy Qiagen for 9b euros in lab tie-up

[NEW YORK] US laboratory equipment maker Thermo Fisher Scientific agreed to buy Qiagen, a Dutch maker of tests for diseases including cancer and the coronavirus, for about 9 billion euros (S$13.9 billion) after reviving discussions that broke off late last year.

Investors will get 39 euros in cash for every Qiagen share, Thermo Fisher said Tuesday. That's 23 per cent higher than Monday's closing price. Qiagen also sells products for food and forensic testing. Bloomberg earlier reported the companies were nearing a deal.

The purchase would be one of the largest ever for Thermo Fisher after the company acquired Life Technologies for US$13.6 billion in 2014. Healthcare deals have heated up this week after a slow start to the year, with this coming one day after Gilead Sciences agreed to buy Forty Seven for about US$4.9 billion to advance into cancer treatments.

Thermo Fisher will assume 1.26 billion euros in net debt. The company's coronavirus test is being used at four hospitals in China and one in France. The diagnostic gives results in about one hour.

Last year, Qiagen started exploring options soon after indicating it had received overtures from several possible buyers, Bloomberg News reported.

It's a reversal for Qiagen, which announced in December that it had ended discussions with potential buyers after finding the proposals "not compelling."

Its stock took a hit last October as Chief Executive Officer Peer Schatz announced he would step down after a 15-year run and the Dutch company slashed its forecast for quarterly sales growth.

BLOOMBERG