Origin Technologies Ups Affymetrix Bid to Topple Thermo Deal

  • Firm increases offer to $17 a share after earlier bid rejected
  • Proposal includes $100 million reverse termination fee

Origin Technologies Corp. increased its all-cash offer to buy Affymetrix Inc. to $17 a share, as it seeks to top an agreed deal between the medical technology company and Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc.

The new bid is 21 percent more than the $1.3 billion that Thermo Fisher proposed in January, according to a statement from Origin Technologies Tuesday. Origin Technologies also upped the reverse termination fee -- the amount it would pay if it pulled out of a deal -- to $100 million from $75 million.

Affymetrix on Sunday rejected Origin Technologies’s previous cash bid of $16.10 a share, made on March 18, and reaffirmed its commitment to the Thermo Fisher deal. “Origin appears to be a newly-formed shell entity with no assets of which Affymetrix is aware, and whose sole source of funding for the proposed transaction is $1.5 billion in potential debt commitments,” Affymetrix said in a statement at the time.

The bid has already come under scrutiny from a San Francisco congresswoman, who asked the U.S. Treasury Department to examine Origin Technologies’s previous bid, citing U.S. national security concerns.

Chinese Ties

In a letter to Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, Democratic Representative Jackie Speier said that an Origin takeover of Affymetrix, a DNA-testing company that has contracts with federal agencies including the Department of Defense, may pose a national security risk due to the bidder’s ties to the Chinese government.

Origin Technologies is owned by a group of former Affymetrix executives, and has fully committed financing for an acquisition from SummitView Capital, according to its initial proposal. SummitView raised its funds in partnership with the Chinese government, according to Speier’s letter.

Origin reiterated its commitment Tuesday to a so-called hell or high water clause, which means in this case that it agrees to take responsibility for any steps need to get regulatory approval for a deal.

Thermo Fisher in January agreed to buy Affymetrix for $14 a share in cash, more than 50 percent above its closing price before the offer was made public. Adding Affymetrix’s products will help Thermo Fisher expand its array of laboratory equipment, which also includes diagnostic tools for hospitals and mass spectrometers for chemists.

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