Report: Thermo Fisher Bids to Take Over Millipore

Xconomy Boston — 

According to a report today from the Bloomberg news agency, Thermo Fisher Scientific (NYSE: TMO), the Waltham, MA-based supplier of laboratory instruments and equipment to the life sciences industry, has made an unsolicited bid to acquire Billerica, MA-based Millipore (NYSE: MIL) for $6 billion. Millipore makes diagnostic and laboratory equipment for biotech firms.

Bloomberg attributed its report to “a person close to the situation,” who added that Millipore has hired investment bank Goldman Sachs to advise it about the deal, which could be inked as early as next week.

If the report is accurate, it’s a sign that Thermo Fisher is on something of a buying spree. The company paid $145 million in January for Ahura Scientific, a venture-backed maker of handheld optical instruments. This month it acquired Finland-based Finnzyme, a maker of reagents and instruments for DNA amplification.

A $6 billion purchase of Millipore would presumably be highly leveraged or would consist of a mix of cash and stock. Thermo Fisher had $1.56 billion in cash on hand at the end of 2009. The company’s total market capitalization is $19 billion.

Millipore’s share price on the New York Stock Exchange was up sharply on the takeover rumor, hitting $86 by 2:00 p.m. Eastern time, an increase of about  22 percent over the day’s opening price. Thermo Fisher’s stock was down slightly.

Neither Thermo Fisher nor Millipore immediately responded to Xconomy’s requests for comment on the Bloomberg report.