Varian Bought by Applied Materials, Nuance Picks Up Equitrac, Alkermes Pays $960M for Elan Unit, & More Boston-Area Deals News

5/11/11Follow @xconomy

Acquisitions headlines were big this week in New England, and spanned the semiconductor, life sciences, mobile, and software spaces.

PlumChoice, a Billierica, MA-based provider of remote IT services to businesses, nabbed $25.6 million from new backers M/C Venture Partners, Gold Hill Capital, and Eastward Capital, as well as its previous investors.

—Gloucester, MA-based Varian Semiconductor Equipment Associates (NASDAQ: VSEA), a provider of ion implantation products for semiconductor chips, was bought by Applied Materials of Santa Clara, CA for $4.9 billion, or $63 per share in cash. The deal reflected a 38 percent premium on Varian’s 30-day average closing stock price, and a 55 percent premium on its closing stock price the day before it was bought.

Jumptap, a Cambridge, MA-based mobile advertising network provider, confirmed that it had raised $25 million from new and existing backers. The month before, an SEC filing showed the company had brought in $20 million in funding.

—Sensobi, a mobile startup the was in TechStars Boston’s inaugural class in 2009, was bought by New York-based mobile group messaging firm GroupMe for an undisclosed sum. GroupMe has raised about $11.5 million in funding.

—Waltham, MA-based Alkermes (NASDAQ: ALKS) said it paid $960 million for the chemical formulation and manufacturing unit of Ireland-based Elan Drug Technologies (NASDAQ: ELN). The new company, to be called Alkermes plc, will be incorporated in Dublin, and Alkermes CEO Richard Pops will stay on to lead the new firm. The acquisition adds 450 Ireland-based employees to Alkermes.

—Cambridge-based drug developer Merrimack Pharmaceuticals could pay up to $220 million to Taiwan-based PharmaEngine for the rights to develop and commercialize one of its drugs Europe and Asia. Merrimack paid $10 million upfront, with up to $210 million to come in milestones and royalties tied to MM-398, a potential treatment for gastric, colorectal, and pancreatic cancer originally developed by Hermes BioSciences, bought by Merrimack in 2009. (PharmaEngine previously held the rights to market MM-398 in these regions.)

APriori Technologies, a Concord, MA-based maker of software for cost management in manufacturing, raised $4.9 million in an equity offering from four investors, an SEC filing showed.

—Burlington, MA-based speech software maker Nuance Communications (NASDAQ: NUAN) announced it had agreed to acquire Equitrac, a maker of print management software, for $157 million in cash.

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