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2 May, 2018 - 14:27 By Tony Quested

Abcam has £270m approach for Horizon Discovery rejected

geneadviser, genetic testing

World leading gene editing business Horizon Discovery has rejected a potential takeover approach from fellow Cambridge UK quoted company Abcam plc, an international provider of research tools, which values Horizon at £270 million.

Horizon rejected the proposal – which Abcam reveals was actually made on April 19 – today. That’s despite the proposal representing a premium of approximately 26 per cent to Horizon Discovery's closing share price of 144 pence on May 1.

Horizon’s share price has fallen sharply since inspirational CEO Dr Darrin Disley quit to pursue other interests on February 20.

Dr Disley is a close ally of Abcam co-founder Dr Jonathan Milner who is a shareholder in both businesses.

Abcam is building a new global headquarters at Cambridge Biomedical Campus and is constantly on the look-out for strategic acquisitions. Horizon would be a great fit, as Abcam directors are telling Horizon shareholders in a bid to force the pace towards a potential formal bid.

Abcam believes that a combination with Horizon's business would help both companies expand their reach and influence globally. It also believes that the move would accelerate Horizon Discovery's growth, enhance the capabilities for both businesses and create significant value for researchers through the development of new products and services. 

Abcam has a proven track-record of acquiring and successfully integrating businesses.

The Abcam board said it felt the proposal represented “a compelling opportunity to drive superior value creation for the shareholders of both companies.”

They added: “Accordingly, Abcam is seeking to engage with Horizon Discovery in a constructive dialogue and is announcing the proposal as a means to encourage and further that process.”

Abcam actually made the approach in mid-April but has decided to go public to make Horizon shareholders aware of the opportunity.

Dr Disley has reportedly been inundated with offers for his executive services since the split with Horizon, which has grown globally from a Cambridge Research Park springboard. Horizon finance chief Richard Vellacott is the interim CEO.

• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: Dr Jonathan Milner

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