GE sells BioPharma line, retains GE Healthcare for now

Financially beleaguered GE has reached a deal to sell its BioPharma business, which provides instruments, consumables and software for research in biopharmaceutical drugs.

The deal, with Washington-based Danaher, will net GE a “total consideration” of $21.4 billion, which includes $21 billion in cash as well as Danaher’s assumption of certain pension liabilities.

GE, which has been strapped for cash in light of the conglomerate’s business results and debt load, says it expects to use the proceeds to reduce leverage and strengthen its balance sheet. The transaction is expected to close by the end of the year, pending regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions.

The BioPharma line of business is part of GE Life Sciences, and its products include process chromatography hardware and consumables, cell culture media, single use technologies, development instrumentation and consumables and service.

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A General Electric Co. logo is seen on a Discovery CT750 HD CT scan machine as it sits on display prior to a news conference in New York. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

Pharmaceutical Diagnostics, currently part of GE Life Sciences, will remain within the GE Healthcare portfolio—it supplies contrast media and molecular imaging consumables for radiology customers, and it’s considered “highly complementary” to GE Healthcare’s medical imaging line.

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GE Healthcare has a global installed base of more than 4 million imaging, mobile diagnostic and monitoring units—it also provides services, accessories, consumables, education, training and consulting.

GE had previously planned to separate its healthcare unit, which includes life sciences operations, and raise proceeds through an initial public offering of stock. However, those plans are on hold for now, the company says.

“The BioPharma business has been a strong contributor to our success, and I am confident this agreement represents a great opportunity for our valued colleagues to flourish under the ownership of Danaher,” says GE Healthcare President and CEO Kieran Murphy. “GE Healthcare has unsurpassed scale and scope, and we will continue to focus on our investments so that we deliver better outcomes and more capacity to a world striving for precision health.”

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