Origin Technologies raises bid for Affymetrix to$1.58 bn

Origin Technologies Corp Llc yesterday raised its all cash takeover offer by 5.6 per cent to acquire gene testing company Affymetrix, after its earlier bid of $16.10 per share was rejected in favour for a competing bid from Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc.

The move comes two days after Affymetrix, a maker of advanced genetic analysis technology, rejected a $1.5-billion takeover bid from Origin and opted to go ahead with its planned sale to Thermo Fisher Scientific for $1.3 billion. (See: Affymetrix rejects $1.5-bn takeover bid from Origin Technologies)

Origin, a newly-formed entity owned by former Affymetrix executives, increased its offer to $17 a share from its earlier offer of $16.10 a share, valuing California-based Affymetrix at about $1.58 billion.

Origin said that its offer will be financed by Chinese private equity firm SummitView Capital. It also increased the break-up fee to $100 million from $75 million, in order show that it is committed to the deal as well as meet its financial obligations.

It also suggested that Affymetrix delay its 24 March shareholder meeting in order to review its revised offer.

In early January, Thermo Fisher, the world's largest maker of scientific instruments, had struck a friendly $1.3-billion cash deal to buy Affymetrix, in order to strengthen its biosciences and genetic analysis business.

Thermo Fisher offered to pay $14 per share, amounting to a 52-per cent premium to Affymetrix's 8 January closing price of $9.21, but Affymetrix shares have risen by around 52 per cent since Thermo Fisher made its offer.

In yesterday's after-hours trading Affymetrix shares rose to $14.99.

Last week, Origin, owned by a former Affymetrix executives including Dr. Wei Zhou, former vice president of intellectual property and advanced technology in Affymetrix, tabled a $1.5-billion competing offer for the company, a move that was aimed at derailing an already agreed deal with Thermo Fisher.

Origin's offer was $16.10 per share in cash, a 14.8-per cent premium to Affymetrix's closing price on 18 March, and 15 per cent higher than Thermo Fisher's $14 per share offer.

While rejecting Origin's earlier offer, Affymetrix noted that Origin was a newly-formed shell company with no assets, and whose sole source of funding for the deal is debt commitments.

Affymetrix's technologies enable multiplex and simultaneous analysis of biological systems at the cell, protein, and gene level, facilitating the rapid translation of benchtop research into clinical and routine use for human health.

Its customers include the pharmaceutical, diagnostic, and biotechnology companies as well as leading academic, government, and non-profit research institutes.

The California-based company has manufacturing facilities in Cleveland, San Diego, Vienna and Singapore, and employs around 1,100 people.

Waltham, Massachusetts-based Thermo Fisher specialises in the field of scientific machinery for health-care services, as well as providing chemicals and medical services for hospitals and scientific research.

It has annual revenues of $17 billion and employs around 50,000 people in 50 countries.