Fisher buys Apogent for $2.7 billion

The $2.7 billion acquisition of Portsmouth-based Apogent Technologies by Fisher Scientific International Inc. is being seen by analysts as an expected move by the Hampton-based firm to enter the growing bioscience market.

Fisher, a maker of laboratory gear for universities and researchers, will exchange 0.56 Fisher share for each Apogent share and will assume $980 billion in Apogent debt.

Shareholders of Apogent will own 43 percent of the combined company under the terms of the agreement, which also calls for Fisher to assume $980 million in Apogent debt.

Apogent will bring Fisher more proprietary products, which usually come with higher profit margins, said Paul Montrone, Fisher’s chief executive.

According to Paul Meister, Fisher’s vice chairman, less than 15 years ago, about 40 percent of Fisher’s revenue came from proprietary sales. That proportion has since increased to 50 percent. The Apogent deal will push that figure up to 60 percent, said Meister.

Fisher’s former parent company, Henley Group, was spun off from Allied Signal in the mid-1980s. Henley then spun off Fisher in 1991.

Montrone will remain chairman and chief executive of Fisher, and Frank Jellinek, Apogent’s chief executive, will become chairman emeritus.

The companies expect to close the deal early in the third quarter.

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