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bioMerieux-Pierre Fabre Lives Up to Its Name

Executive Summary

Only seven weeks after merging, French diagnostic-pharma company bioMerieux-Pierre Fabre is proposing to buy Organon Teknika's diagnostics business. The deal would combine two players with complementary, not overlapping, strengths in microbiology and infectious diseases. Under Dutch labor law, the proposal must be reviewed by Dutch employee groups and antitrust regulators before Organon Teknika's parent, Akzo Nobel NV, can formally accept it.

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bioMerieux, a Family-Owned French Firm, Finally Goes Public

In early July, the family-owned French firm bioMerieux SA launched an IPO by listing a third of its shares on the French bourse. The offering has been a success, primarily enabling a restless shareholder to sell its stake. And while the microbiology company didn't raise money for itself, it will have to change its corporate culture, opening its books to the public for the first time and requiring it to be responsive to shareholders.

bioMerieux, a Family-Owned French Firm, Finally Goes Public

In early July, the family-owned French firm bioMerieux SA launched an IPO by listing a third of its shares on the French bourse. The offering has been a success, primarily enabling a restless shareholder to sell its stake. And while the microbiology company didn't raise money for itself, it will have to change its corporate culture, opening its books to the public for the first time and requiring it to be responsive to shareholders.

A Tepid Wedding, Now A Possible Divorce

The year-old union of bioMerieux-Pierre Fabre appears to be on the verge of disintegrating, amid lack of a coherent strategy, disagreements between the two founders who spearheaded the deal, and departure of key top executives. The company won't comment except to say that it is considering various alternatives including a break-up. Unraveling should not be difficult, since the two companies haven't integrated much. And the separation would leave bioMerieux, now the world's eighth largest diagnostics company, and Pierre Fabre, one of France's largest independent pharmaceutical companies, free to seek more appropriate solutions to the challenges they face.

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