GE Healthcare to acquire Whatman plc

Recommended acquisition at 270p per share in cash


GE Healthcare, a unit of General Electric Company , and Whatman plc announced that they have reached agreement on the terms of a recommended acquisition of Whatman by GE Healthcare. Under the terms of the transaction, each Whatman shareholder will receive 270 pence in cash for each Whatman share, valuing Whatman at approximately £363 million (approximately $713 million.) The transaction is subject to approval by Whatman's shareholders as well as customary regulatory approvals.

Joe Hogan, President and CEO GE Healthcare, commented, "Whatman is a great company with an outstanding track record of innovation, a strong reputation and brand with the research community, and highly talented employees. Whatman's product offerings are highly complementary with our Life Sciences business; we believe that combining the skills and knowledge of the two businesses will create significant added value for our customers. Life Sciences is a key area of growth for GE Healthcare and expanding our skill base and product offerings in this area supports our vision of helping our customers to diagnose and treat disease earlier."

Commenting on the acquisition, Kieran Murphy, Chief Executive Officer of Whatman, said, "Whatman will benefit significantly from the business process expertise within GE Healthcare and in addition, Whatman's product opportunities within the pharmaceutical, diagnostic and forensics markets will have a greater chance of success within the larger GE Healthcare group. The Whatman management team very much looks forward to working with the GE Healthcare leadership to maximise the potential of this great business."

It is intended that the transaction will be implemented by way of a scheme of arrangement under UK law. The transaction has been recommended unanimously by the directors of Whatman, who have agreed to vote their shares in favour of the transaction. The largest shareholder of Whatman, Hermes Focus Asset Management Ltd*, with approximately 15% of the outstanding shares of Whatman, has also agreed to vote in favour of the transaction. It is expected that the transaction will be completed in the second quarter of 2008.

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