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Executive Briefing.

Bio-Rad Laboratories Makes Offer to Buy Sanofi Diagnostics Hercules, CA, 6/16/99-Bio-Rad Laboratories made an offer to purchase 100% of the shares of Pasteur Sanofi Diagnostics from its shareholders, Sanofi-Synthelabo S.A. and Institut Pasteur, for approximately $210 million. PSD's shareholders have not yet agreed to the offer but have agreed to negotiate exclusively with Bio-Rad on the basis of Bio-Rad's offer for a limited period of time. The offer may include an exclusive collaboration agreement with the Institut Pasteur, by which Bio-Rad would have the priority to commercialize Pasteur's discoveries in the in vitro diagnostics market and gain the right to use the Pasteur name in its diagnostics product line. PSD had sales of approximately $210 million in 1998. The offer is subject to negotiation of definitive agreements, government approvals, standard conditions, and procurement of committed outside financing. This is a significant move by Bio-Rad to reinforce its position in diagnostics, making it clear that this market is a strategic priority of interest to the company. Sanofi also offers Bio-Rad an important opportunity for geographical expansion in the diagnostics market through Sanofi's existing customer base.

Bruker Daltonics Buys Viking Instruments' Assets Sterling, VA and Billerica, MA and 6/23/99-Bruker Daltonics, Inc. purchased the assets of Viking Instruments, including intellectual property rights, according to a Bruker spokesperson. The companies expect to work out a formal agreement within the next few weeks. Although Bruker has not begun production of Viking products, it is currently accepting purchase orders for those products. Viking Instruments manufactures portable GC-MS systems. The purchase was effective as of June 23, 1999. Viking has been around for a while with an interesting product, but hasn't really been able to leverage it effectively. Bruker Daltonics has much more market presence, including portable MS, and should be able to get Viking's system to a wider audience.

Sartorius Acquires Two Life Science Companies Goettingen, Germany, 6/24/99-Sartorius acquired 76% of the shares of Vivascience, Life Science Purification Technologies, an English company specializing in biotechnology products. Sartorius will add process-scale versions of Vivasciences's products. Sartorius also purchased a 100% stake in Filtrak GmbH, a German company that manufactures special filter paper and substrates for separation technologies. Filtrak's products supplement Sartorius' portfolio in its core application areas, according to company officials. Both purchases are retroactively effective as of January 1, 1999. Both companies being acquired are involved with membranes and filters, an area where Sartorius has a strong position. The acquisitions will serve to strengthen that by expanding its offering, particularly in the process area.

Roper Industries Buys Petroleum Analyzer Business from Varlen Naperville, IL, 6/21/99-Roper Industries purchased the petroleum analyzer business from Varlen Corporation. Varlen expects to receive $41.8 million from the sale plus the value of certain retained assets which it will liquidate. This is 8.2 times EBITDA for the year ended May 1, 1999, according to company officials. Roper Industries manufactures fluid handling, industrial controls, and analytical instrumentation products. The business acquired develops instruments to improve yield, certify products and monitor regulatory standards for the oil and gas industry. The acquired petroleum analyzer business will complement well Roper's other process instrumentation and control products and give it a stronger position in the petroleum market, which is extremely important for the liquid handling and monitoring market.

Bruker Daltonics and Finnigan Receive Decision on Patent Legislation Billerica, MA, 6/16/99-The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit confirmed that Bruker Daltonic's Esquire-LC does not infringe on Finnigan's US Patent 4'540'884, and that while this patent is valid, it narrowly covers the mass sequential instability scan, an older method not used by Bruker Daltonics, according to Bruker Daltonics. The decision was the result of an appeal by Finnigan, a ThermoQuest subsidiary, against a previously reported decision by the US International Trade Commission that had found Finnigan's US Patents 4'540'884 and 34'000 invalid and that Bruker's Esquire-LC did not infringe on the 4'540'884 patent. Both patents involve ion trap mass spectrometry. This decision will allow both companies to continue selling their products without stepping on each others' toes. While the court allowed that Bruker's product did not infringe on Finnigan's patent, it still upheld the validity of that patent. So both companies can claim a sort of victory.

Waters and Mantra Software Enter Development Agreement Milford, MA, 6/24/99-Waters entered into an agreement with Mantra Software to develop and market a NuGenesis ARCHIVE software application for Waters Millennium32 Chromatography software. NuGenesis ARCHIVE will extend the power of Millennium32 by giving the user more options for archiving data, according to Waters' officials. The product is expected to ship in the third quarter of 1999. By adding increased archiving options to Millenium32, Waters has made its product much more appealing and much more effective as a potential industry-wide standard. This also provides Mantra a valuable endorsement.
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Publication:Instrument Business Outlook
Date:Jun 30, 1999
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