The Deal: GE Picks Up $1B in Thermo Fisher Assets

NEW YORK (The Deal) -- General Electric  (GE) on Monday continued its push to expand its healthcare operation, agreeing to acquire certain life science assets of Thermo Fisher Scientific  (TMO)for $1.06 billion in cash.

The deal includes Waltham, Mass.-based Thermo Fisher's cell culture, gene modulation and magnetic bead businesses. The units, part of Thermo Fisher's analytical technologies segment, generated combined revenue of about $250 million in 2013.

Fairfield, Conn.-based GE has been seeking to refocus its sprawling collection of businesses since the economic downturn, and looking to divest its consumer finance operations and to grow in healthcare and energy. The company said the Thermo Fisher units would be folded into its $4 billion-sales GE Healthcare life sciences business, giving it a more complete portfolio of tools used for cell biology research, cell therapy and for the manufacture of new biological medicines and vaccines.

"Life Sciences is one of our strongest and fastest-growing business areas, driven by the world's demand for improved diagnostics and new, safer medicines," GE Healthcare CEO John Dineen said in a statement. "This deal makes a good business even better and will help us realize our vision of bringing better healthcare to more people at lower cost."

GE has sold some lower-margin health units, including a November deal to divest its single-patient-use consumables for respiratory care and anesthesiology business to CareFusion  (CFN) for about $500 million.

Thermo Fisher was required to sell the units as part of an agreement with European regulators to win approval for its $13.6 billion purchase of genetic testing equipment Life Technologies (LIFE). That deal remains subject to U.S. regulatory approval, but Thermo said that based on discussions with Federal Trade Commission representatives it does not believe any additional divestitures will be required.

The deal for Life, which was announced last April, is expected to close in the current quarter.

Written by Lou Whiteman.

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