Exact Sciences to Sequenom: No Deal

1/12/09

Exact Sciences (NASDAQ:EXAS), a Marlborough, MA-based maker of cancer diagnostics, is searching for a better deal than the one it was offered last week by San Diego-based diagnostics firm Sequenom (NASDAQ:SQNM). This afternoon, Exact said its board of directors unanimously rejected Sequenom’s bid to acquire the company for $1.50 per share worth of Sequenom common stock.

Exact—which ended September 2008 with $6 million in cash and has been seeking strategic alternatives such as a buyout—says its board decided that the company should find a deal that would bring greater value to shareholders than Sequenom’s all-stock buyout offer, valued at $41 million. Exact’s common stock closed at $1.52 per share today, up 53.5 percent from its 99-cent closing price last Friday when Sequenom announced its offer.

Luke wrote last week that Sequenom’s bid to acquire Exact follows a banner 2008, when the value of Sequenom’s stock more than doubled and it reported 100-percent accuracy in a study of its prenatal test to screen fetuses for Down’s Syndrome. It appears that Sequenom, which hopes to expand its diagnostic offerings with Exact’s stool-based DNA test for colon cancer, may have to dig deeper into its pockets to win over Exact’s board of directors.

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