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Quest Diagnostics to pay $671M for Celera Corp.

Fri, 03/18/2011 - 4:45am
The Associated Press

Medical laboratory operator Quest Diagnostics Inc. said Friday it will buy the diagnostics company Celera Corp. for $671 million in a deal that gives it access to proprietary genetic tests and a research and development pipeline focused on cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Quest, which is headquartered in Madison, N.J., said the boards of directors for both companies have approved the deal, which is expected to close at the end of next month.

Quest will purchase all outstanding shares of Celera for $8 a share cash, a premium of 28 percent over the closing price Thursday. The deal price includes Celera's cash and short-term investments, which total $327 million. Quest values the deal at about $344 million, not counting those items.

Celera, based in Alameda, Calif., focuses on sequencing the human genome and identifying links between genetic variations and disease states.

Last month, Quest also announced plans to buy the Athena Diagnostics business from scientific instruments maker Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. for $740 million in cash. The Worcester, Mass., business is focused on diagnostic tests for neurological conditions, including Alzheimer's disease. The Athena Diagnostics sale is expected to close in the second quarter.

Quest has said both the Celera and Athena acquisitions are expected to add about 1 percent each to revenue this year.

Quest shares fell 15 cents to $54.05 Friday morning before trading started. Celera shares jumped more than 27 percent, or $1.71, to $7.98. The stock has traded in a 52-week range of $5.35 to $7.72.

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