GE Stock Surges on News of Biopharma Sale

John Minchillo  Associated Press  File/2018

General Electric is selling its biopharma business to Danaher Corp. for $21.4 billion as the industrial giant continues to shed pieces of itself.

The business, which makes equipment for researching, developing and manufacturing biopharmaceuticals and had revenues of around $3 billion previous year, will now operate as a separate division within Danaher's $6.5 billion life sciences division after the closure of the deal.

GE shares opened almost 14 percent higher at $11.57 on February 25 while Danaher stock was up just over 9 percent at $123.94 at the open.

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The Wall Street Journal earlier this month reported GE has a $92 billion backlog in orders for the Power division, some of them stemming from the company's purchase of France's Alstom in 2015. Danaher said after tax benefits, the deal will have a price tag that is closer a $20 billion.

Danaher expects to finance the all-cash transaction with approximately $3 billion of proceeds from an equity offering (which may include an offering of mandatory convertible preferred shares), and the remainder from available cash on hand and proceeds from the issuance of debt and/or new credit facilities. GE will receive cash proceeds of about $21 billion while also transferring certain pension liabilities to Danaher. The deal is expected to close by year-end and is not subject to a financing condition or a shareholder vote, GE said in a statement. In 2016, for instance, it bought the molecular diagnostics and medical testing business Cepheid for about $4 billion. The company has so far lost two-thirds of its value in the last two year. Washington, D.C. -based Danaher is the company Culp ran for about 13 years prior to joining GE.

While GE may still unload the remaining health operations at some point, the company will now turn its attention to completing the bio-pharma sale, Culp said.

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"We view the acquisition as highly strategic, as [Danaher] gains access to GE's coveted bioprocessing assets, where GE is the leader in downstream chromatography, highly complementary to Pall's upstream dominant filtration position - not to mention GE's high margin upstream business in cell culture and single use technologies", Brennan wrote. This represents a multiple of approximately 17 times expected 2019 EBITDA for GE Biopharma. It is a leading provider of instruments, consumables and software that support the research, discovery, process development and manufacturing workflows of biopharmaceutical drugs. The remaining parts posted about $17 billion in revenue past year, the company stated, with operating profit margins in the mid-teens.

Instead, the company will prioritize completing the Danaher deal while retaining the rest of its healthcare unit.

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