Mammoth deal for Millipore
Darmstadt – German chemical and pharma combine Merck KGaA intends to acquire Millipore Corp. for EUR5.3bn. The deal represents an offer of US$107 per share, and includes the assumption of Millipore’s debt. Merck is paying around four times Millipore’s annual revenues of about EUR1.2bn, and fifteen times its operating profit (EUR340m). The German firm will pay for the deal with cash from its reserves and a term loan. A maker of technologies, tools and services for bioscience research and biopharmaceutical manufacturing with a primary concentration in the US, Millipore fits well into Merck’s strategy. “The acquisition of Millipore is a transforming event for our chemicals business,” Merck CEO Karl-Ludwig Kley told the press. “This is not a cost-cutting exercise, the goal is pure value creation,” said Elmar Schnee, the head of Merck’s pharmaceutical operations. Its management expects to create synergies of about a150m in the next two years. Merck says it will maintain the strong Millipore brand, and move its chemical headquarters into Millipore’s, which is based in Billerica. Merck management also stated that it intends to retain Millipore’s senior executives as it did with Serono, which was acquired and integrated into Merck’s pharma business in 2005. Merck will need to win shareholder approval in a special meeting, and hopes to close the deal in the second half of the year. Millipore will add platforms – like upstream processing for biologics – that Merck KGaA currently lacks. Analysts believe the transaction will reinvigorate growth in the company’s chemical unit, but some say Merck might be overpaying for the firm.