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Epigenomics Agrees to Takeover Bid

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – German molecular diagnostics firm Epigenomics announced today that it has agreed to a public takeover offer from Blitz F16-83, a subsidiary of Chinese private equity firm Cathay Fortune International.

Under the terms of the deal, Epigenomics shareholders will be offered €7.52 ($8.19) in cash for each ordinary share of the company. The proposal values Epigenomics' equity, including net cash, at roughly €171 million — a 49 percent premium to the firm's three-month volume weighted average share price of €5.03 and a 32 percent premium to the highest closing price in the last 12 months.

"We are convinced that this transaction is in the best interest of Epigenomics and its shareholders," CEO Greg Hamilton said in a statement. "It provides our company with access to the capital resources necessary to successfully commercialize our innovative products on a global scale. In addition, the transaction will allow us to expand our R&D activities in order to unfold the potential of our unique cancer biomarker technology in the future."

Epigenomics said that if the takeover is successful, Blitz F16-83 intends to keep the company's current executive board in place, although its supervisory board will be adjusted to reflect the new ownership. Blitz F16-83 and Cathay Fortune have also agreed to invest up to €6.5 million into Epigenomics for short-term working capital. Epigenomics is expected to maintain the locations of its current operations, including its Berlin headquarters, and no workforce reductions are planned.

Following the transaction, Epigenomics will be owned by Cathay Fortune and Biochain, its largest shareholder and strategic partner. Epigenomics and Biochain have been collaborating since 2013, and recently partnered on the development of a lung cancer diagnostic for the Chinese market.

Blitz F16-83 expects its offer to commence next month, subject to regulatory approval and acceptance of the offer by holders of at least 75 percent of the company's outstanding shares. The deal is expected to close this summer.