UK separation technology specialists Whatman has confirmed it has received a number of preliminary approaches for the firm, sending its shares rocketing up.
Following press speculation yesterday, Whatman CEO Kieran Murphy confirmed the approaches but stressed that "there is no certainty that any offer will be made." That didn't stop the share price increasing 26 per cent to just under 260 pence. That values the whole company at £343 m (€453m).
The 267-year-old company has had a turbulent time over the last few years and last September, Murphy announced a restructuring process was going to be implemented to try and boost the ailing firm.
According to a report in the FT, Whatman has received approaches from General Electric, Danaher, Parker Hannifin and Millipore. Although Millipore are the only firm exclusively dedicated to the life sciences industry, Parker Hannifin does own a life sciences unit that manufactures motion and fluidic control technologies and systems.
The FT article also says that Goldman Sachs has been appointed to find a choose a preferred buyer before the end of the month.
"The implementation of our strategic review and the upgrades to our sales and marketing delivered real improvements resulting in much stronger trading in the second half of the year," said Murphy at yesterday's announcement of Whatman's full year results.
"Whilst manufacturing and supply chain issues continue to be a source of considerable management focus, the much higher order book position at the close of the year gives us good reason for cautious optimism as we enter 2008.
Whatman is one of the oldest listed companies in the UK and is known for its separation technology for laboratory scientists. The firm makes products in a wide range of areas for a number of industries. They include chromatography, sample prep, protein microarrays, multiwell plates, filter papers, membranes and disposable filtration device. Whatman also provides tools to capture, archive and purify DNA at room temperature to the police.