Philips’ spree puts Agilent and ADAC under its tree; Cardiac science to conquer Space; Web Worm: FirstGov

photoA triple-header!
Philips’ spree puts Agilent and ADAC under its tree
At this time of year, consumers account for most of the purchases associated with Philips Electronics. The Amsterdam-based conglomerate manufactures the Norelco razors which turn up under millions of Christmas trees. This year’s a little different. Philips is spending the money — almost $2.2 billion — and expanding its Medical Systems business through the acquisition of Agilent Technologies’ Healthcare Solutions Group and ADAC Laboratories.

Agilent’s Healthcare Solutions Group (HSG of Andover, Mass.) will cost Philips $1.7 billion. Formerly part of Hewlett-Packard, the company sells more than 400 healthcare products and services, and is among the worldwide leaders in patient monitoring products, ultrasound systems and defibrillators.

HSG has annual sales of $1.5 billion, 5,000 employees and operations in more than 100 countries, but its post-HP growth disappointed Wall Street. It posted a net loss of $53 million for the nine-month period ending July 31,compared with net income of $86 million in the year-ago period.

“When we looked at all of the other businesses we are in — communications, optical components, life sciences — we frankly concluded that we had higher priority opportunities that we wanted to invest in and healthcare kept coming out near the bottom of the list for some of the largest investments that we needed to make,” said Agilent President and CEO Edward W. Barnholt in a news conference announcing the Philips deal. “With that realization, it was just a couple of months ago that we started to explore other options in discussions with Philips and other people. Philips very quickly expressed interest.”

Philips’ offer for ADAC Labs (Milpitas, Calif.) is approximately $426 million, or $18.50 per share of outstanding ADAC common stock.

The acquisition of ADAC will give Philips a foothold in one product area the company has lacked — nuclear medicine — and is another step in Philips’ strategy to offer a more diverse medical imaging product line. The possible addition of ADAC to Philips follows Philips’ acquisition of the former ATL Ultrasound Inc. in October 1998.

“If you look at our HeartCare program, for example, [ADAC’s] leadership position in nuclear medicine really rounds out our portfolio of comprehensive cardiovascular imaging, and information management solutions,” said Jack Price, president of Philips Medical Systems North America. “We are continuing to grow beyond our traditional strength in cardiac and vascular imaging labs, to be a truly all encompassing supplier to cardiologists and vascular specialists.

Information management systems are not part of this ADAC deal. In October, ADAC signed agreements to sell its HCIS Cardiology Systems Group to Camtronics Medical Systems (Hartland, Wis.) and the remainder of HCIS to Cerner Corp. (Kansas City, Mo.).

ADAC’s board of directors has unanimously recommended that ADAC’s shareholders go along with Philips’ tender offer. Philips anticipates that the transaction could close as soon as the end of this year or during the first quarter of 2001. The offer is subject to customary regulatory approvals and other conditions.

The Agilent deal will take a little longer. Until then, HSG will do business as a separate company and develop an integration plan.


FirstGov

imageWhile election officials squirmed amid chad produced by obsolete voting technology, our dimpled mud-muncher enjoyed a lesson in high-tech civics at FirstGov, the new Web portal operated by the U.S. General Services Administration. This official federal site breaks the mind-boggling array of public works into easily-browsed catagories with links to pertinent documents and Web pages at the national, state and local level.

The headless-cybercitizen endorsed the site’s use of frames and Java-buttons to facilitate navigation and searching. Our compassionate invertibrate applauded FirstGov’s accessibilty, something too many sites overlook. Each page is designed to work with screen readers and text-only browsers.

d02c.jpg (11463 bytes)The cultivating critic punched his ballot for FirstGov, considering it much easier to use than incumbant FedWorld, the Internet portal maintained by the U.S. Government Printing Office since the Gopher administration. It’s a prime hyperlink in our worm’s cabinet.

http://www.firstgov.gov


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