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   Strategies & Market TrendsSpeculating in Takeover Targets


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From: richardred4/13/2007 1:11:39 AM
   of 6272
 
QIAGEN Signs Agreement for the Acquisition of eGene
Thursday April 12, 10:36 pm ET
Strategic Transaction adds Capillary Sample Separation Technology

VENLO, The Netherlands, April 12 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- QIAGEN N.V. (Nasdaq: QGEN; Frankfurt, Prime Standard: QIA), the world's leading provider of sample and assay technologies for research in life sciences, applied testing and molecular diagnostics, today announced, that its subsidiary QIAGEN North American Holdings, Inc. has signed a definitive merger agreement with eGene, Inc. (Nasdaq OTC/BB: EGEI) pursuant to which eGene would become a fully owned subsidiary of QIAGEN North American Holdings, Inc. eGene is an early-stage company located in Irvine, California, that has developed and is commercializing a patented sample separation and analysis technology based on capillary electrophoresis. The transaction has been approved by the boards of directors of both companies and is expected to close, subject to regulatory and stockholder approvals and customary closing conditions in the third quarter of 2007.

eGene has developed a multi-channel sample separation and analysis technology for nucleic acids that includes an affordable and robust instrument, software analysis package, and a selection of consumable cartridges specifically designed for specific high value applications in the molecular diagnostic and research markets. The HDA-GT12(TM) Genetic Analyzer is a revolutionary multi-capillary system which incorporates many capabilities into one easy to use platform, integrating automatic sample loading, separation, and data analysis.

The HDA system significantly improves the workflow and increases the productivity of medium to high throughput laboratories. No longer does the lab technician have to pour and wait for slab gels to solidify or laboriously load each nucleic acid sample into the gel individually. With the HDA system, the technician simply loads a 96 well plate containing the samples, sets the software specification and then walks away while the instrument automatically loads and processes the samples. At the end of the experiment, the technician can access a graphic representation of the collected digital data, giving accurate information of the DNA fragments (targeted genetic variants) with a separation in high resolution (2-5 bp) quality.

Currently, eGene's consumable cartridges are available for a number of research applications, including formats addressing the Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) testing market, genetic testing including microsatellite analyses, DNA post-PCR separation and analysis at different resolutions, and RNA integrity quality control. eGene's product offering is therefore highly synergistic with QIAGEN's sample and assay technologies.

For example, in the market for transplantation-related (HLA) molecular diagnostics, eGene's consumable facilitate the use of QIAGEN's SSP PCR-based molecular diagnostics for HLA. The QIAGEN SSP HLA product line is IVD CE marked for clinical diagnostic use in the European Union and is for research use only in the US and Canada. Customers in the HLA market prepare what are often large numbers of conventional slab gels each month which they load with the samples on which the QIAGEN HLA assays have been performed to identify and match donors and recipients prior to organ transplantation. The eGene system now offers QIAGEN's customers in HLA testing the opportunity to automate the tedious, manual preparation and loading of slab gels. In addition the full-featured software analysis and result documentation represents a significant advantage in this diagnostic environment.

Next generation products will most likely include an expanded menu of products targeting use in research in applied testing and molecular diagnostics and may be combined with the Company's recently acquired QIAplex technology. With the QIAGEN QIAplex multiplex test technologies a patient sample can potentially be tested against multiple pathogens at the same time to rapidly determine the origin of the infection. QIAplex products are currently available as research use only products for the investigation of respiratory (ResPlex(TM) I; II, III), hospital-acquired, and bacterial (StaphPlex(TM)) infections as well as additional panels for other pathogens.

"eGene has developed a sample separation system for nucleic acid processing that is both affordable and robust" said Peer M. Schatz, QIAGEN's Chief Executive Officer. "With the eGene system, we are adding a consumable and instrument line which provides quality control capabilities following the use of sample technologies as well as a readout system for our assay technologies in one platform. The combination of novel and patented multiplex fluorescence detection designs with solid-state light sources and micro-optical collectors creates an advantage over conventional gel-based sample separation technologies. The eGene system permits a new dimension of ease of use and automation, freeing up the researcher's time for more important endeavors."

"The eGene solutions leverage and seamlessly combine with QIAGEN sample and assay technologies and create novel and highly attractive molecular diagnostics solutions to our customers in research in clinical research, applied testing and molecular diagnostics" Peer M. Schatz continued. "QIAGEN provides a comprehensive direct-sales and service channel as well as a complete and complementary product portfolio to increase the value for customers in these market segments."

Under the terms of the agreement, QIAGEN North American Holdings, Inc. will offer $0.65 in cash and 0.0416 common shares of QIAGEN stock per share of eGene stock. The aggregate purchase consideration amounts to approximately $34.0 million (based on the average closing prices of QIAGEN stock on the NASDAQ Global Select Market for the 20 trading days ending on April 12, 2007). Based on preliminary analyses and assuming the transaction closes early in the third quarter of 2007, QIAGEN expects this transaction to contribute approximately US$2 million in sales in the second half of 2007 and roughly US$7-$9 million in sales for the full year of 2008. QIAGEN expects to incur one-time charges of approximately US$0.01 in EPS at closing, expected in the third quarter 2007. These charges primarily relate to in-process research and development and the write-off of certain assets. On an adjusted basis excluding one-time charges, integration and restructuring costs and amortization of acquired IP, the acquisition is expected to reduce EPS in the second half of 2007 by approximately US$0.01 and to be neutral to earnings in 2008. Beyond 2008, revenues for this product line are expected to grow rapidly and contribute significant accretion to net income as the instrument base expands rapidly and drives increasing consumable usage.

"We are very pleased and excited to join forces with QIAGEN - the leading provider of sample technologies, nucleic acid assays technologies and molecular diagnostic assays. Together, the companies can address their customers' entire work flow in molecular testing applications such as HLA and molecular diagnostics, from sample to answer with solutions from a single source. Given the leadership in molecular diagnostic technologies and sales, marketing and operational resources, we believe the combined companies can expand and accelerate the availability of our technologies into the market and into the hands of more customers and in addition, to benefit mankind," said Ming S. Liu, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of eGene.

Financial Highlights of the Transaction:

- Merger agreement signed on April 12, 2007.

- Transaction expected to close early in the third quarter of 2007.

- Entered into binding voting agreement with management and key shareholders.

- Expected to add revenues of approximately US$2 million in second half of 2007.

- Expected to incur one-time charges of approximately US$0.01 in EPS at closing, expected in the third quarter 2007.

- Expected to reduce adjusted EPS in the second half of 2007 by approximately US$0.01 and to be neutral in 2008.

- No material change to QIAGEN's expected margins.

- Early-stage company rapidly commercializing its technology.

Additional Information:

QIAGEN intends to file a registration statement on Form F-4 containing a joint proxy statement/prospectus in connection with the transaction. The proxy statement/prospectus will be mailed to the stockholders of eGene to consider and vote upon the proposed merger. Investors and security holders are urged to read the proxy statement/prospectus and other relevant materials filed with the SEC when they become available because they will contain important information about the transaction and other related matters. Investors and security holders may obtain free copies of these documents (when they become available) and other documents filed with the SEC at the SEC's web site at www.sec.gov. In addition, investors and security holders may obtain free copies of the documents filed with the SEC by eGene Investor Relations and for free from QIAGEN by directing a request to QIAGEN Investor Relations.

Participants in the Transaction:

QIAGEN, eGene and their respective executive officers, directors and other members of management or employees may be deemed to be participants in the solicitation of proxies from eGene stockholders with respect to the transactions contemplated by the merger agreement. Information regarding QIAGEN's executive officers and directors is available in QIAGEN's Annual Report on Form 20-F for the year ended December 31, 2006, which has been filed with the SEC. Information regarding eGene's officers and directors is available in eGene's Annual Report on Form 10-KSB for the year ended December 31, 2006 which will be filed with the SEC shortly. You can obtain free copies of these documents from QIAGEN and eGene, respectively, using the contact information above. Additional information regarding interests of such participants will be included in the registration statement containing the proxy statement/prospectus that will be filed with the SEC and available free of charge as indicated above.

In addition, in connection with the execution of the merger agreement, Ming S. Liu, Ph.D. eGene's Chief Executive Officer, Varoujan Amirkhanian, eGene's Executive Vice President and Director, and Peter Sheu, eGene's Chief Financial officer, have entered into letter agreements with QIAGEN setting forth the terms under which these individuals will continue their employment with QIAGEN following the transaction. Additional information regarding these arrangements and the interests of such participants will be included in the registration statement containing the proxy statement/prospectus that will be filed with the SEC and available free of charge as indicated above. Directors and officers of eGene have agreed to vote their shares in favor of the transaction.

About QIAGEN:

QIAGEN N.V., a Netherlands holding company, is the worldwide leading provider of sample and assay technologies for research in life sciences, applied testing and molecular diagnostics. The products are considered standards in areas such as pre-analytical sample preparation and molecular diagnostics solutions. QIAGEN has developed a comprehensive portfolio of more than 500 proprietary, consumable products and automated solutions for sample collection, nucleic acid and protein handling, separation, and purification and open and target specific assays. The company's products are sold to academic research markets, to leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, to applied testing customers (such as in forensics, veterinary, bio-defense and industrial applications) as well as to molecular diagnostics laboratories. QIAGEN employs more than 1,950 people worldwide. QIAGEN products are sold through a dedicated sales force and a global network of distributors in more than 40 countries. Further information about QIAGEN can be found at www.qiagen.com.

About eGene:

eGene developed the HDA-GT12(TM) (High-performance DNA Analyzer) for genotyping using 12 channels. The system analyzes the genetic fingerprints of living organisms while performing fast DNA sample screening and high-resolution DNA fragment analysis (2-5 bp). The System also analyzes the quality and quantity of RNA in the gene expression market. The Company sells cartridges that are specific to the type of analysis to be performed. All data is then received in digital form for appropriate transmission and storage. eGene (www.egeneinc.com) focuses on its core technologies of capillary electrophoresis, liquid handling and automation to develop and manufacture low-cost microfluidic, miniaturized digital analyzer systems, software and consumables for biological materials testing applications. These products detect, quantify, identify and characterize biomolecules including DNA and RNA at high rates of specificity and sensitivity while automating routine and non-routine laboratory and industrial procedures critical to product safety, development quality and productivity.

Certain of the statements contained in this news release may be considered forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the U.S. Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the U.S. Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. These statements are typically preceded by words such as "believes," "expects," "anticipates," "intends," "will," "may," "should," or similar expressions. To the extent that any of the statements contained herein are forward-looking, such statements are based on current expectations that involve a number of uncertainties and risks that may cause actual future experience and results to differ materially from those discussed in these forward-looking statements. Such uncertainties and risks include, but are not limited to, the ability of eGene to obtain stockholder approval of the transaction; the possibility that the transaction will not close or that the closing will be delayed; the challenges and costs of integrating the operations and personnel of eGene; reaction of customers of eGene and QIAGEN and related risks of maintaining pre-existing relationships of eGene and QIAGEN; the impact of acquisitions and divestitures on the synergies of QIAGENs programs; competitive factors, including pricing pressures; the success of research and development activities; and other events and factors disclosed previously and from time to time in QIAGEN's and eGene's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including QIAGEN's Annual Report on Form 20-F for the year ended December 31, 2006 and eGene's Annual Report on Form 10-KSB for the year ended December 31, 2006 which will be filed with the SEC shortly. Except for QIAGENs and eGene's ongoing obligations to disclose material information under the federal securities laws, QIAGEN and eGene disclaim any obligation to update any forward-looking statements after the date of this document.
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This document is not an offer to sell shares of QIAGEN common stock which may be issued in the proposed merger. Such QIAGEN common stock is offered only by means of the proxy statement/prospectus referred to herein

Source: Qiagen N V

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From: richardred4/13/2007 1:18:18 AM
   of 6272
 
Axsys Technologies Acquires Cineflex Camera Systems
Thursday April 12, 9:51 pm ET
Conference Call Scheduled for April 13, 2007 at 10:00 am ET

ROCKY HILL, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Axsys Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: AXYS - News) today announced that it has acquired substantially all of the assets of Cineflex LLC, a privately held manufacturer of high-precision gyro-stabilized aerial camera systems, for $27 million in cash, with possible additional cash consideration to be paid upon the attainment of certain revenue targets fixed largely over the next 36 months.

Cineflex is a technology leader in the design and manufacture of highly stable, multi-sensor, multi-axis surveillance platforms serving customers in federal and local government, and in the motion picture and electronic news gathering industries. A pioneer in high-definition aerial surveillance technology, Cineflex develops ultra-stable camera systems for applications such as long range license plate identification and the observation of suspected criminals. The unique ability of Cineflex's products to track targets from great distances led to its extensive use for animal photography in the recent BBC/Discovery HD production, "Planet Earth." Cineflex employs approximately 25 people at its Grass Valley, California headquarters. Total unaudited revenue for the 2006 calendar year was $8.7 million with operating income of approximately 25%.

"This acquisition brings critical, high-value technology to Axsys, and opens the door to significant new markets," said Stephen W. Bershad, Chairman and CEO of Axsys Technologies. "Camera system stabilization is essential in airborne and seaborne surveillance and reconnaissance applications, and Cineflex's technology is state-of-the-art. By combining Cineflex's products and capabilities with Axsys' expertise in visible and infrared lenses and cameras, Axsys will reinforce its position as the technology leader in the industry. This highly synergistic transaction is expected to generate $11 million in revenue for Axsys during 2007 and will be moderately accretive to earnings after taking into account incremental amortization resulting from merger accounting."

John Coyle, founder of Cineflex and co-owner, added, "The entire Cineflex team is excited to be joining Axsys Technologies. The technical fit could not be better, and Axsys' strong reputation as a leading vertically integrated supplier of surveillance solutions among defense and homeland security customers worldwide is sure to accelerate the growth of our gyro-stabilized camera business. Together we will clearly be a powerful force in the industry."

"Cineflex customers are astounded by the stunning images produced by our company's camera systems," continued Alan Purwin, co-owner of Cineflex. "As part of the Axsys team, we intend to accelerate the adoption of this important technology by force protection, homeland security, and first-responder customers worldwide."

Strategic Highlights:

* Significantly enhances Axsys' market position as a leading supplier of vertically integrated surveillance systems to defense and homeland security customers.
* Marries Cineflex's multi-axis stabilization technology with Axsys' optics and camera technologies, enabling the development of high-performance, military-grade airborne systems, opening a large new market for both companies.
* Vertically integrates the Cineflex multi-sensor camera system with its largest cost driver, the Axsys infrared camera.
* Presents new opportunities for Axsys optical products in the motion picture and electronic news gathering industries by leveraging Cineflex's strong reputation in those markets.
* Directly supports Axsys' strategy to leverage its optics and motion-control capabilities to increase the value-added content of its solutions.

Financial Highlights:

* Acquisition is structured as an asset purchase.
* Initial transaction consideration of $27 million in cash.
* Incremental contingent cash payments of up to $42.5 million are possible if certain revenue targets are exceeded as part of a three-year earn-out agreement.
* A second contingent payment of up to 10% of all revenues recognized from multi-year orders in backlog at the end of the earn-out period is possible if revenues in the fourth year from the acquisition date exceed $40 million.
* Transaction financed with cash on hand and borrowings under a revolving credit facility.

Conference Call

Management will conduct a conference call to discuss the acquisition on Friday, April 13, 2007 at 10:00 am ET. Shareholders, institutional investors and equity research analysts are invited to participate in the call by dialing 1-866-356-3377 and entering conference pass code 57151357. The conference call will be webcast live via the Investor Relations section of the Company's web site at www.axsys.com. A replay of the webcast will be available shortly after the conclusion of the call for a period of approximately 90 days.

About Axsys

Axsys Technologies, Inc. is a vertically integrated supplier of precision optical solutions for high technology applications, serving the aerospace, defense and high performance commercial markets. For more information, visit www.axsys.com.

This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. One can identify these forward-looking statements by the use of the words such as "expect," "anticipate," "plan," "may," "will," "estimate" or other similar expressions. Because such statements apply to future events, they are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause the actual results to differ materially. Important factors, which could cause actual results to differ materially, are described in Axsys' reports on Form 10-K and Form 10-Q on file with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including without limitation: changes in the U.S. federal government spending priorities; the Company's ability to compete in the industries in which it operates, including the introduction of competing products or technologies by other companies and/or pricing pressures from competitors and/or customers; the potential for the Company's backlog to be reduced or cancelled; the Company's ability to implement its acquisition strategy and integrate its acquired companies successfully, including the acquisition of Cineflex; the Company's ability to manage costs under the Company's fixed-price contracts effectively; and changes in general economic and business conditions. These statements reflect the Company's current beliefs and are based upon information currently available to Axsys. Be advised that developments subsequent to this release are likely to cause these statements to become outdated with the passage of time, and we specifically disclaim any obligation to update these statements.

Contact:

Axsys Technologies, Inc.
David A. Almeida, 860-257-0200
CFO
or
Geoffrey Ling, 860-594-5773
Director of Investor Relations
Invest@Axsys.com

Source: Axsys Technologies, Inc.

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To: richardred who wrote (1582)4/13/2007 1:21:00 AM
From: richardred
   of 6272
 
Cutter & Buck Agrees to $156.5M Buyout
Thursday April 12, 7:24 pm ET
Cutter & Buck Agrees to $156.5M Buyout by Sweden's New Wave Group Worth $14.38 Per Share

SEATTLE (AP) -- Cutter & Buck Inc., a designer of golf and sportswear, said Thursday it agreed to be acquired by New Wave Group AB for $156.5 million in cash.

Under the deal, Sweden-based New Wave Group will pay $14.38 per Cutter & Buck share, a 24 percent premium over Thursday's closing price.

New Wave Group, a marketer of clothing, accessories and gifts, feels the deal will help its brands in the United States, particularly New Wave and Clique, deputy Chief Executive Goran Harstedt said in a statement. It will also expand distribution of Cutter & Buck's brands, such as "ANNIKA," in Europe.

Both companies' boards have approved the deal, which they expect to close by the end of May. New Wave Group said it expects the acquisition to add to its financial results this year.

Cutter & Buck shares rose 4 cents to close at $11.63 on the Nasdaq Stock Market.

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To: richardred who wrote (1633)4/13/2007 1:24:09 AM
From: richardred
   of 6272
 
Dow Fires 2 Over Acquisition Talks
Friday April 13, 12:44 am ET
By James Prichard, AP Business Writer
Dow Chemical Fires Adviser, Officer for Trying to Negotiate Takeover Behind Company's Back

Only days after announcing that it's not in talks involving a leveraged buyout, Dow Chemical Co. has shown the door to a senior adviser and a company officer, accusing them of trying to negotiate a deal behind the company's back.

Senior adviser Pedro Reinhard, who retired as the chemical giant's chief financial officer in October 2005, and Romeo Kreinberg, a divisional executive vice president, were dismissed with the approval of the board of directors, Andrew Liveris, Dow Chemical chairman and CEO, said Thursday.

Reinhard remains a member of the board because only shareholders, not management, can remove directors.

"The values of integrity and respect for people are at the very core of our company," Liveris said in a written statement.

"I think I speak for all employees when I say we are greatly saddened by the disrespect shown by our former colleagues. But we will move on to shape our future with an even greater resolve to execute our strategy and deliver value to our shareholders."

The statement said Reinhard and Kreinberg had "engaged in business activity that was highly inappropriate and a clear violation of Dow's Code of Business Conduct."

Chris Huntley, a spokesman for Midland, Mich.-based Dow Chemical, said the two men were "involved in discussions with other parties about acquiring the company. This wasn't them talking on behalf of the company. We had no knowledge that these discussions were going on."

On Monday, Dow Chemical issued a statement saying it "has had no discussion about a leveraged buyout" and that the board "fully supports Dow's management team."

"These two individuals, we subsequently found out, were having conversations about such activity," Huntley said.

Contacted at his home by telephone on Thursday, Kreinberg said there is no truth to the accusations made against him and that he has sought the advice of legal counsel.

"The behavior of the company is very unusual, and the accusations have absolutely no substance and are highly damaging to my reputation after 30 years of employment," he said.

A man answering the phone at Reinhard's home asked a reporter to call back later. There was no answer to subsequent calls made to the home.

"At the very least, we believe the firings confirm that there was some takeover interest -- either by a private-equity firm or by a strategic buyer," Citigroup analyst P.J. Juvekar wrote in a note to investors.

Juvekar said the firings were "swift and decisive, particularly in the context of Dow's conservative operating culture," while Frank Mitsch, an analyst at BB&T Capital Markets, called it "very shocking news."

"It's very surprising to say the least," Mitsch said. "Pedro has obviously been one of the most impressive figures at Dow for a number of years."

Reinhard owns 445,666 shares of Dow Chemical, according to LionShares.com, a Web site that tracks a company's largest shareholders. Based on the stock's closing price Thursday, those shares are worth $20.5 million. He also holds options on another 209,166 shares.

Kreinberg owns 165,975 shares worth $7.6 million and holds options on another 355,884 shares.

Shares of Dow Chemical jumped Monday after a British tabloid reported that a group of Middle Eastern investors and U.S. buyout firms was preparing a bid for the company, which makes and sells chemicals, plastics and farm products to customers in a range of industries. Dow Chemical reported that it earned $3.72 billion last year on sales of $49.1 billion.

The Sunday Express reported over the weekend that the group -- including private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. -- had secured financing for a $50 billion bid for the Midland-based company. Kohlberg Kravis Roberts has declined to comment on the report.

The newspaper first reported in January that several private equity firms were interested in Dow Chemical.

In a proxy statement filed last month, Dow Chemical said shareholders will vote on four proposals at the company's annual stockholder meeting scheduled for May 10. One is a board-supported proposal to drop a company requirement that an 80 percent "supermajority" of shareholders approve mergers, buyouts, removals of directors and other major moves, and require only a simple majority.

Huntley said the timing of the proposal is coincidental because the proxy statement was prepared well in advance of its release.

Dow Chemical's shares rose 91 cents on Thursday, or 2 percent, to close at $46 on the New York Stock Exchange. Shares have traded in a 52-week range of $33 to $47.60.

Associated Press Writer John Flesher contributed to this report.

Dow Chemical Co.: dow.com
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From: richardred4/13/2007 1:25:41 AM
   of 6272
 
MedImmune Considering Sale, Stock Up
Thursday April 12, 5:02 pm ET
By Stephen Manning, AP Business Writer
MedImmune Stock Jumps After the Drug Company Says It Would Consider a Sale

CHEVY CHASE, Md. (AP) -- Drug company MedImmune Inc. said Thursday it is willing to consider takeover offers, reversing its stand against a sale because of interest from big pharmaceutical companies and investor unhappiness with the company's performance.

MedImmune said its board of directors authorized company management to gauge interest from potential bidders. It also hired Goldman Sachs & Co. and the law firm Dewey Ballantine to help with a possible sale.

Medimmune shares jumped more than 15 percent in trading on the Nasdaq stock market.

The company, based in Gaithersburg, has a market capitalization of nearly $9 billion and posted $1.28 billion in revenue last year, mostly from its childhood respiratory drug Synagis. MedImmune also makes the inhaled influenza vaccine FluMist.

But the company's recent performance has rankled some major shareholders, who said MedImmune should consider selling itself because its failure to meet some major milestones has hurt investors.

The shareholders' concerns centered on a disappointing launch of FluMist, once thought to be a blockbuster drug that fizzled when it was released four years ago because of problems with storage, price and limitations on who could use it. MedImmune also revealed in February a delayed filing for federal approval of a new version of Synagis, helping to push its stock down sharply.

In the past, MedImmune has deflected proposals that it should sell, saying it would continue with its business plan rather than find a buyer. It reaffirmed that position in February when investor Matrix Asset Advisors urged it to explore a sale. Billionaire investor Carl Icahn, who often pushes for major changes at companies he invests in, also revealed in February that he held 2.8 million MedImmune shares, slightly more than 1 percent of the company's stock.

David Katz, president of Matrix, said he was pleased MedImmune has finally agreed to consider a sale. He estimated the company could be sold for between $45 to $50 per share, saying a deal is likely and could happen soon. Matrix, which owns 1.79 million shares of MedImmune, has long advocated a deal because of sagging performance.

With several drugs already on the market and more in the pipeline, the company would be a good acquisition for a drug giant looking to expand its biotech holdings, like Merck & Co., Pfizer Inc. or Novartis, Katz said. A big company could help MedImmune with problems it has had selling its products.

"We think ultimately it is going to be a home run for somebody," he said.

The involvement of Icahn, who has not made any public statements about MedImmune but has a reputation for shaking up companies he has a stake in, likely helped convince MedImmune's board to weigh a sale, Katz said.

"Even if he wasn't terribly active behind the scenes, just the specter of him getting active probably was a good motivator," Katz said.

MedImmune said earlier this week that it expects earnings to nearly triple when it reports second quarter results in May. The company also recently released results of a study showing that a new formulation of FluMist may be more effective than the traditional shot in children, which will likely boost its chances of approval by federal regulators this year.

MedImmune said it will not provide any information on a possible sale until it has a deal or decides to go ahead as a stand-alone business. The company said in a statement that "there can be no assurance that an acquisition" will occur. Company spokeswoman Jamie Lacey said there would be no further comment on the Thursday statement.

Shares of MedImmune closed up $5.79 to $43.63 in trading Thursday, setting a new 52-week high.
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To: richardred who wrote (925)4/13/2007 1:28:48 AM
From: richardred
   of 6272
 
Invitrogen Completes Divestiture of BioReliance
Thursday April 12, 4:00 pm ET

CARLSBAD, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Invitrogen Corporation (Nasdaq:IVGN - News), a provider of essential life science technologies for disease research and drug discovery, today announced it has completed the sale of its BioReliance business unit to Avista Capital Partners for $210 million.

"The decision to sell BioReliance followed a thorough portfolio review aimed at identifying our core competencies," said Greg Lucier, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Invitrogen. "This divestiture allows us to focus on our core platform of tools and technologies and to grow our position as the premier consumables company in the marketplace."

BioReliance is a contract service organization that provides biological safety, testing, toxicology, viral manufacturing and laboratory animal diagnostic services.

About Invitrogen

Invitrogen Corporation (Nasdaq:IVGN - News) provides products and services that support academic and government research institutions and pharmaceutical and biotech companies worldwide in their efforts to improve the human condition. The company provides essential life science technologies for disease research, drug discovery, and commercial bioproduction. Invitrogen's own research and development efforts are focused on breakthrough innovation in all major areas of biological discovery including functional genomics, proteomics, bioinformatics and cell biology -- placing Invitrogen's products in nearly every major laboratory in the world. Founded in 1987, Invitrogen is headquartered in Carlsbad, California, and conducts business in more than 70 countries around the world. The company is celebrating 20 years of accelerating scientific discovery. Invitrogen globally employs approximately 4,300 scientists and other professionals and had revenues of more than $1.26 billion in 2006. For more information, visit www.invitrogen.com.

About Avista Capital Partners

Avista Capital Partners is a leading private equity firm with offices in New York, NY and Houston, TX. Founded in 2005, Avista's strategy is to make controlling or influential minority investments primarily in growth-oriented media, healthcare and energy companies. Through its team of seasoned investment professionals and industry experts, Avista seeks to partner with exceptional management teams to invest in and add value to well-positioned businesses. For more information, visit www.avistacap.com.

Contact:

Invitrogen Corporation
Investor Relations
Amanda Clardy, 760-603-7200
amanda.clardy@invitrogen.com
Media Contact
Eric Endicott, 760-268-7438
eric.endicott@invitrogen.com

Source: Invitrogen Corporation
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From: Paul Senior4/13/2007 10:50:54 AM
   of 6272
 
"Shares of Sallie Mae, (NYSE:SLM - News) rose nearly 13 percent, and its bonds fell after The New York Times reported that the largest U.S. student-loan company was in talks to sell itself to private equity firms."

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-----------------------
I'll continue to hold my few shares.

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From: richardred4/14/2007 12:18:44 AM
   of 6272
 
Cott surges on Cadbury Schweppes rumors
The private-label soft drinks maker may be exploring potential benefits of combining with the Snapple, 7 Up maker.
April 13 2007: 5:05 PM EDT

TORONTO (Reuters) -- Private-label soft drinks maker Cott Corp. said Friday it has responded to interested parties that have approached it after Cadbury Schweppes Plc announced it would split its confectionery and Americas beverage businesses.

The news sent Cott's (Charts) stock surging 28 percent, or $3.62, to $16.56 in New York, and ahead C$4.08 to C$18.80 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
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The company said in a statement it is exploring the potential benefits of "participating in possible industry consolidation," but fell short of revealing the identity of the parties with which it is in discussions.

Shares of Cott were halted before the bell Friday morning in both Toronto and New York after The Wall Street Journal said the company was in talks with private equity firms about merging operations with Cadbury Schweppes' beverage arm.

Shares in Cadbury Schweppes (Charts), whose brands include 7 Up, Dr. Pepper and Snapple, surged almost 5 percent in London after Cott shares were halted and interest in Cadbury's beverage unit by private equity groups grew.

The London-based firm's shares rose as high as 700 pence to top the FTSE 100 gainers Friday before closing up 1.7 percent, at 678 pence.
Cadbury to split candy and beverage lines

Sources close to the situation have said Cadbury has signed confidentially agreements with a number of private equity players interested in buying its beverage business, which is based in the United States, and that the company plans to give financial details in the coming weeks.

Toronto-based Cott, which is consulting with legal and financial advisers, said its board supports talks on a potential transaction, but there has been no decision regarding a change in strategy.

Citing a person familiar with the talks, The Wall Street Journal said several private equity firms were considering a bid for Cadbury Schweppes' brands.

Cott has a market value of less than $1 billion, while Cadbury's beverages unit is worth around £8 billion ($15.9 billion).

A combination of Toronto-based Cott - which bottles beverages for Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (Charts) and other major retailers - and Cadbury's beverage arm would create a robust competitor to Coca-Cola (Charts) and PepsiCo (Charts).

Morgan Stanley analyst William Pecoriello said a financial buyer might "consider buying Cadbury and Cott, combining the two and potentially spinning off the combined Cott/bottling business. We see this as more plausible given an analysis of the possible synergies of combining the operations," he wrote in a note to clients.

Cadbury Schweppes is the No. 3 soft drink company in the United States, behind Coca-Cola and Pepsi.

According to 2006 data from industry publication Beverage Digest, Cadbury and Cott together would control about 20 percent of the U.S. market. Coke and Pepsi together control about three-quarters of the market.

Soft drink companies are increasingly looking to diversify their portfolios as many health-conscious consumers eschew sugary soft drinks in favor of bottled waters or teas.

Cott, hit by the tepid soft drinks market over the past two years, has recently been pushing new products such as energy drinks, teas, sports drinks and flavored water.

The new products now represent about 20 percent of Cott's sales and Chief Executive Brent Willis told Reuters earlier this year he would like to see those beverages growing to about 40 percent of sales in three to five years.
money.cnn.com

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From: richardred4/14/2007 12:22:07 AM
   of 6272
 
Google to Acquire DoubleClick for $3.1B
Friday April 13, 11:05 pm ET
By Jordan Robertson, AP Technology Writer
Online Search Engine Google to Pay $3.1B Cash for Ad-Management Technology Company DoubleClick

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Seeking to expand its already well-honed ability to sell targeted Internet advertisements, online search leader Google Inc. said it has agreed to pay $3.1 billion in cash to acquire ad-management technology company DoubleClick Inc.

The two companies announced the deal after the markets closed Friday. The boards of both companies have approved the takeover, which is expected to close by the end of the year.

New York-based DoubleClick helps its customers place and track online advertising, including search ads, which Google -- more than its nearest search competitors Yahoo Inc. and Microsoft Corp. -- has turned into an extremely lucrative business.

DoubleClick had been the target of a fierce bidding war between Microsoft and Google, and Google's winning bid is nearly three times the amount DoubleClick fetched when it went private in 2005 for $1.1 billion.

The acquisition is the largest in Google's history, beating out the $1.76 billion deal for online video-sharing site YouTube Inc. late last year.

Though Google commands the lion's share of the online advertising search market, the addition of DoubleClick's technology and client network will help further its efforts to branch out beyond simple text ads and into more multimedia offerings.

Google and DoubleClick said their combination will offer media buyers and sellers more powerful tools for targeting and analyzing online advertisements and "serving," or placing them, on an even larger network of Web sites.

"It has been our vision to make Internet advertising better -- less intrusive, more effective, and more useful," Sergey Brin, Google's co-founder and president for technology, said in a statement. "Together with DoubleClick, Google will make the Internet more efficient for end users, advertisers, and publishers."

Shares of Mountain View-based Google fell $2.52 to $463.77 in after-hours trading. DoubleClick has been privately held since 2005.

The sellers are San Francisco-based private equity firm Hellman & Friedman, along with JMI Equity and DoubleClick management.

biz.yahoo.com

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To: richardred who wrote (1660)4/14/2007 12:27:44 AM
From: richardred
   of 6272
 
Dow's chemical reaction
Thursday April 12, 5:51 pm ET

That's one way to kill a buy-out rumour. Dow Chemical (NYSE:DOW), whose shares have jumped more than once on bid reports, has sacked two directors for holding "unauthorized discussions" about a deal. Anybody wanting to take a run at Dow will now have to come through the front door.

Superficially it has echoes of Hewlett-Packard's boardroom shenanigans. There, directors over-reached their independence by leaking information to the press. The company over-reacted with a spying campaign that led to boardroom casualties. It raised interesting questions about how far non-executive directors could go on their own initiative. They are independent. In pursuing the company's best interests, they should have their own sources of information and contacts to counteract the bunker mentality that can grip boards and to act as a balance against excessive executive control. But companies rightly impose serious limits on what directors can do without reference to the board.

This case is more about the ever-present conflicts involved in management buy-outs. The accusation seems to be that the two directors (one a former chief financial officer and the other an executive still running Dow's largest business unit) were plotting a deal to take the company private. At least one of them has forcefully denied this. Whatever the truth in this case, as a general principle, if any director crosses the line from putting the interests of shareholders first to focusing on how they might maximise their own wealth, there is little debate about what should happen.

Boards of directors should bear that in mind next time a chief executive turns up with a 20 per cent premium in mind to take the company private. He can do that. But once he has crossed the line, like any other director, he should do any negotiating from the outside. And, if the bid fails, there should be no going back.
biz.yahoo.com

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