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Molecular Devices to buy Axon Instruments for $140 million.

Sunnyvale, CA 3/21/04 and Union City, CA 3/22/04--Molecular Devices announced that it has entered into a definite agreement to acquire Axon Instruments for approximately $70 million in cash and $70 million in Molecular Devices common stock (each share of Axon common stock would be worth $0.1359 in cash, a 36.5% premium over the March 19th share price, and 0.00734 of newly issued Molecular Devices shares based on an $18.52 price per share). Molecular Devices will also assume $29 million in Axon cash and marketable securities. In 2003, Axon recorded revenues of $33.5 million and was profitable on an operating and net income basis. If the transaction closes by the end of the second quarter, as scheduled, Molecular Devices' 2004 revenue guidance will increase by $20 million to between $145 million and $155 million. On an annualized basis, Molecular Devices expects $4 million to $5 million in expense synergies. Based in Union City, California, but publicly traded on the Australian Stock Exchange, Axon Instruments develops, manufactures and sells signal amplification instruments for cellular neuroscience, parallel electrophysiology systems for ion channel screening, cellular imaging systems and the GenePix microarray scanners. Axon CEO Dr. Alan Finkel will become Molecular Devices' chief technology officer. Axon President Geoffrey Powell will retire, as previously announced.

The acquisition must be approved by both companies' shareholders. However, key shareholders of approximately 29% of Axon stock have agreed to approve the deal. During its conference call, Molecular Devices said that the acquisition expands the company into the cellular neuroscience and genomic (microarray scanner) markets and that the companies' ion channel screening and high-throughput imaging instruments were complementary. Cellular neuroscience, genomics and cell-based screening each account for approximately one-third of Axon sales. The high value of this transaction confirms the growing importance of cellular analysis in the marketplace.
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Title Annotation:Executive briefing: news, trends & market intelligence for instrument executives
Publication:Instrument Business Outlook
Geographic Code:1U9CA
Date:Mar 31, 2004
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