Agilent Deal Sends Varian Shares Surging

SANTA CLARA, CALIF. ( TheStreet) -- Shares of Varian ( VARI) rocketed higher by 30% Monday, after the company agreed to sell itself to Agilent ( A) for $52 a share in cash, or $1.5 billion.

The deal, announced Monday morning, represented a 35% premium to Varian's closing stock price on Friday.

Varian, which makes scientific instruments like vacuums, mass spectrometers and MRIs for the life sciences, also reported quarterly numbers Monday, saying its profit excluding one-time items was relatively flat with a year ago (and two-cents better than analysts' targets) even while revenue fell 20% to about $197 million.

Agilent, which took in revenue of nearly $5.2 billion over the last 12 months and is striving to expand its bio-analytical offerings, said in a statement that it expects "synergies" from the acquisition to allow it to save $75 million a year. Agilent also said that it won't use any financing to make the purchase, using only cash from its reserves.

The companies, both based in Silicon Valley (Varian in Palo Alto, Agilent in Santa Clara) said they expect the transaction to close by the end of the year, though it still requires regulatory and shareholder approval.

In midday trading Monday, Varian shares were changing hands at $50.53, up $11.33, or 29%, on nearly ten-times the average daily volume of 306,000 shares.

Agilent stock, meanwhile, was trading at $35.31, up 11 cents from the previous close.

--Reported by Scott Eden in New York.

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