Roche makes hostile bid for Ventana Medical

Roche makes hostile bid for Ventana Medical

Roche makes hostile bid for Ventana Medical

Roche Holding AG unveiled an unsolicited tender offer of about $3 billion, or $75 a share, for Ventana Medical Systems Inc., in a move aimed at broadening the Swiss health-care company's diagnostic portfolio.

Roche said it has made "multiple efforts to engage in meaningful discussions with Ventana's chairman and board concerning a negotiated transaction," but that because the Tucson, Ariz., company has declined to talk about a transaction, Roche has decided to commence a tender offer.

Ventana representatives couldn't be reached for comment.

The per-share price of $75 is a 45% premium to Ventana's close of $51.74 in 4 p.m. trading yesterday on the Nasdaq Stock Market. In after-hours trading last night, the shares soared nearly 53% to $78.98.

Ventana's clinical systems are used to analyze human tissue to assist in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer and infectious diseases. The company reported first-quarter earnings of $18 million on sales of $64.4 million. Ventana forecast full-year sales ranging from $285 million to $289 million.

Roche Chief Executive Franz Humer said tissue-based diagnostics "is a technology where Roche has so far not been represented." An acquisition of Ventana would add a "very important" technology to Roche's diagnostic business, he said.

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