Last September I commented on Molecular Devices
And, well, you know what they say about stopped clocks and biotech stock commentators -- we're both bound to be right sometime. Yesterday Molecular Devices agreed to be acquired by Toronto-based MDS
Molecular Devices' shareholders should be pleased with the acquisition. In the last year, the company's management has struggled to effectively forecast the laboratory equipment market. The purchase price is at a generous premium to the current share price, but slightly below where the company was trading just last April. Plus, MDS picks up well-regarded product lines that serve a customer base they already provide with mass spectroscopy equipment.
MDS appears to be a company in transition. The last two years have seen a refocus of the company's business units into those supporting the life sciences industries. Last October it announced the sale of its diagnostic services business to Borealis Infrastructure Management for $1.3 billion. I like the life science support industry and believe that solid investment options can be found in this segment. And the MoneyTree Report (put out by PriceWaterhouseCoopers, a chronicle of venture capital activity) agrees with me; it shows continued strong investment in the biotechnology arena.
MDS is attractive as an investment, but I'll keep the company on my watch list for now, as it may not yet be finished with the reorganization of the business units. Successful integration of companies like Molecular Devices and improvement of operating margins in the pharmaceutical contract research business unit should reward shareholders well.
Fool contributor Ralph Casale, known on the Motley Fool discussion boards as HelicalZz, is a biochemist by trade and holds no financial position in any of the firms mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.