Opko to Buy Bio-Reference for $1.47bn

Jun 04, 2015, 4:10 PM EDT
Phillip Frost, billionaire and chairman of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., speaks during a Bloomberg Television interview at the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013.
Bloomberg/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The drugs and diagnostics company Opko said on Thursday it will buy Bio-Reference Laboratories for $1.47 billion. It will gain access to genetic data and sequencing technologies to aid medical discovery, reports Bloomberg. Opko is offering 2.75 of its shares for each one in Bio-Reference Labs, valuing the target’s common stock at $52.58 a share, the Miami-based company said in a statement Thursday. That’s a premium of about 60 percent to yesterday’s closing price in New York.

The deal gives Opko, a company created by billionaire Phillip Frost, access to Bio-Reference’s genetics and genomics data, which could provide clues for more personalized drug development. It will also use Bio-Reference’s laboratory services and distribution channels to boost sales of its 4Kscore test, used to diagnose prostate cancer.

Opko’s surging stock price, up 91% this year, provided the currency for the deal, writes the Wall Street Journal. Under the agreement, Bio-Reference holders will receive 2.75 shares of Opko stock for each share held, or $52.58 based on Opko’s Wednesday’s closing price. Bio-Reference shares, which had climbed 23% over the past 12 months to $32.96 Wednesday, jumped 38% to $45.40 in morning trading. Opko shares fell 6% to $17.97 Thursday morning. Opko said it also would merge its diagnostic services with Bio-Reference’s operations across the U.S.