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02/05/2008

GE Healthcare to acquire Whatman plc



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GE Healthcare, a unit of General Electric Company, and Whatman plc announced today 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.

Whatman is a global supplier of filtration products and technologies, with a well-recognized brand, and a strong sector expertise. Whatman has a broad product offering of filters and membranes for laboratory, research, life sciences and medical technology applications. GE Healthcare's Life Sciences business is a world class provider of technologies for cellular and protein science research, and tools used in the manufacture of biopharmaceuticals such as vaccines, cell therapies and antibodies. The strong strategic fit between the two businesses will offer substantial customer benefits and create significant synergies through complementary product and service offerings.

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."

Peter Ehrenheim, President and CEO of GE Healthcare's Life Sciences business, said, "Whatman's expertise and reputation in filtration technologies and sample preparation is a great fit for our Life Sciences business because it brings new technologies that are fundamental to helping researchers increase their understanding of the role of genes and proteins in disease. We believe that combining the skills of the two companies will enable GE Healthcare to create strong added value for customers in biomedical and drug discovery research."

Michael Harper, Chairman of Whatman, added, "The board of Whatman believes that it has delivered a very satisfactory outcome for Whatman shareholders, employees and customers. I would like to thank the management team for its tremendous efforts over the past months not only during the discussions with potential acquirers but also in delivering a strong operational and financial performance in the business."

Source: Whatman



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