Sequenom Getting Aggressive in Bid to Buy Exact Sciences

1/14/09

San Diego diagnostics firm Sequenom (NASDAQ:SQNM) says it plans to acquire all shares of cancer test maker Exact Sciences’ common stock (NASDAQ:EXAS), despite a rejection from Exact’s board of directors to Sequenom’s recent buyout offer.

Sequenom proposes to buy each share of Marlborough, MA-based Exact for $1.50 worth of Sequenom common stock, a total value of $41 million—essentially the same deal that Exact’s board unanimously dismissed. Exact’s board said it had a better option on the table to maximize shareholder value, although Exact didn’t say exactly what that was. So Sequenom says it would immediately withdraw its latest takeover bid if Exact strikes a “material” out-licensing, financing, or other financial restructuring agreement.

“We are disappointed that the board of Exact Sciences has rejected our proposal,” says Harry Stylli, president and CEO of Sequenom, in a statement. “Unfortunately, the board of Exact Sciences has failed to recognize the potential value the combination of our two companies could provide to our respective shareholders.”

Sequenom, which is developing a prenatal test for Down’s syndrome, says that it wants Exact’s stool-based DNA test for early detection colon cancer to help Sequenom move into the market for noninvasive cancer diagnostics.

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