Brooks Automation Moves Further into Life Sciences with $450 Million Deal for Genewiz Group

Acquisition Target

Automation and cryogenics specialist Brooks Automation Inc. will increase its toehold in the life sciences industry with a $450 million all-cash acquisition of New Jersey-based GENEWIZ Group, a genomic services group. Jefferies LLC acted as financial advisor, and Shearman & Sterling acted as legal counsel to Genewiz.

The acquisition of privately-held Genewiz is the largest life sciences move Brooks Automation has made to date, said Steve Schwartz, president and chief executive officer of Brooks Automation. By acquiring Genewiz, Brooks will gain a company that specializes in the important area of gene sequencing and synthesis services. Genewiz has more than 4,000 global customers and has laboratories in multiple parts of the world, including the U.S., China, Japan, Germany and the United Kingdom.

For Brooks, the acquisition of Genewiz comes about a month after the company sold its semiconductor business for $675 million. At the time of that deal, Schwartz said the company planned to use the proceeds to accelerate the growth of its life sciences business, the Boston Business Journal reported. The Journal noted that Brooks largely built its business on the back of the semiconductor side of things, but in 2011 began to move further into the life sciences.

Schwartz said Brooks Automation eyed the Genewiz acquisition as more than just another asset to have in its portfolio. Schwartz said Genewiz will “add a new and innovative platform which we expect to leverage, along with our core capabilities, to add even more value to samples under our care." Brooks, which is headquartered in Chelmsford, Mass., currently provides its cryogenics expertise to the life science industry. The company’s life sciences offerings include a broad range of products and services for on-site infrastructure for sample management in ‑20°C to -190°C temperatures, as well as comprehensive outsource service solutions across the complete life cycle of biological samples including collection, transportation, processing, storage, protection, retrieval and disposal.

“The Genewiz team has built a strong business, which customers trust to provide industry-leading scientific capabilities and superior service,” Schwartz said in a statement.

Amy Liao, co-founder and CEO of Genewiz, will continue to helm the company after it becomes a Brooks subsidiary.

“We bring 20 years of experience, leading sequencing and synthesis capabilities, deep customer relationships, and more than 1,000 very excited employees into Brooks.  We know that Brooks' strength in the sample management market will open more doors to customers for our services and we look forward to developing this exciting new chapter of growth together as part of the Brooks team,” Liao said in a statement.

The deal is expected to close by the end of the year barring any unforeseen regulatory issues.

In its announcement, Brooks said it anticipates Genewiz will exceed $140 million in revenue over the next 12 months. That projection corresponds to Brooks’ fiscal year. The company said it anticipates the acquisition will immediately be accretive to non-GAAP earnings.

Shares of Brooks Automation are up slightly in premarket trading to $32.62. The stock fell more than 5 percent on Tuesday to close at $32.14. 

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