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Agilent Buys Dako for $2.2 Billion, Biggest Deal Ever

Agilent Technologies Inc., the maker of scientific-testing equipment, agreed to buy Dako, a Danish maker of cancer-diagnostics tools, for $2.2 billion in cash to expand its life-science business.

Agilent is acquiring Dako from the Swedish private-equity firm EQT Partners AB, the companies said in a statement today. The purchase is the largest in Agilent’s history.

Dako’s products complement Agilent’s existing diagnostics offerings. Santa Clara, California-based Agilent, which makes measurement and testing gear used by scientists, researchers and engineers, is expanding its medical business after reporting slowing sales growth for four straight quarters.

“This deal appears to make sense as Dako is considered an attractive asset in tissue diagnostics, a market with robust underlying fundamentals,” said Doug Schenkel, an analyst at Cowen & Co. in Boston, in a research report today. Agilent has about $3.9 billion in cash outside the U.S. and may use the funds for additional deals in life sciences and diagnostics in other countries to avoid U.S. taxes, he said.

Agilent fell 0.3 percent to $39.63 at the close in New York. The stock has declined 23 percent in the past 12 months.

‘Life Science’

Dako, based in Glostrup, Denmark, makes chemicals, instruments and software used by labs and hospitals to diagnose cancer. Founded in 1966, Dako has about 1,000 employees in more than 80 countries, according to its website.

“Agilent’s strategy in acquiring Dako is about strengthening the company’s presence in life science and about revenue growth,” Bill Sullivan, Agilent’s chief executive officer, said in the statement.

Stockholm-based EQT, the buyout firm partly owned by the Swedish billionaire Wallenberg family, agreed to buy Dako in 2007 for 7.25 billion Danish kroner ($1.3 billion).

Credit Suisse Securities LLC served as Agilent’s financial adviser and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton provided legal assistance. EQT was advised by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Davis, Polk & Wardwell.

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