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Meridian Bioscience gets bought by South Korean group

Illustration of a gloved hand with tweezers holding a $100 bill.

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

A South Korean consortium led by in-vitro diagnostics company SD Biosensor and private equity firm SJL Partners agreed to acquire U.S. diagnostics player Meridian Bioscience, in a deal valued at about $1.53 billion.

Why it matters: Fueled by COVID, diagnostic capabilities have become increasingly valuable both in the U.S. and abroad.

  • Amazon recently launched a lab testing division, LabCorp unveiled a home testing and appointment-booking portal, and Mumbai-based lab test company Metropolis Healthcare is weighing a minority stake sale to a U.S. tech giant.
  • Financial sponsors also have been active. Avista Capital Partners’ recent sale of Inform Diagnostics produced a gross MOIC of 3x this year, while GTCR jumped in with a $1.2 billion deal for PathGroup.

Details: Shareholders of Cincinnati's Meridian will receive $34 per share in cash, representing a 32% premium over the target's last closing stock price prior to the offer.

  • The all-cash transaction is expected to close in Q4, leaving SDB with a 60% stake and SJL with the remaining 40%.
  • Rothschild advised Meridian, while Piper Sandler worked with the consortium.

What it does: Meridian specializes in diagnostic solutions for conditions including gastrointestinal and upper respiratory infections and blood lead level testing.

  • It works with hospitals, reference laboratories, research centers, veterinary testing centers, physician offices, diagnostics manufacturers, and biotech companies in more than 70 countries.
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