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Hologic (HOLX) to Divest Blood Screening Business to Grifols

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To focus more on its core business, Hologic, Inc. (HOLX - Free Report) recently inked a deal to divest its stake in the blood screening business. Per the terms of the agreement, the company will sell off its share to its long-time commercial partner in blood screening business, Grifols GRFS for gross proceeds of $1.85 billion in cash. 

The transaction, which has already been approved by the board of directors of both companies, should help Hologic in accelerating top-and bottom-line growth. It should also significantly increase financial flexibility of Hologic.

Per the agreement, Grifols will receive a fully paid-up license to certain of Hologic's intellectual property in the blood screening field.  Approximately 175 people, mainly in operations and research and development, will be transferred to Grifols. Also Hologic's blood screening manufacturing facility will shift to Rancho Bernardo, CA. However, the company will retain its engineering expertise that led to the development of the fully automated TIGRIS and Panther systems.

The divestment, which is expected to close in the first quarter of calendar year 2017 was earlier forecasted to contribute $240 million of revenues and adjusted earnings per share of 34 cents.  Accordingly, the company plans to update its financial guidance for fiscal 2017, post the closing of the transaction.

Hologic and Grifols’ alliance on molecular blood screening was formed in 1998.  Under their collaboration, Hologic primarily is in charge of research and development and manufacturing of the Procleix blood screening products, and Grifols is responsible for commercialization worldwide. 

They also share revenues from molecular assays and instruments products which are being used by blood banks globally for screening of donated blood prior to transfusion for viruses including HIV, hepatitis C and B, West Nile and Zika. 

Share Price Movement

Over the past six months, Hologic consistently outperformed the Zacks categorized Medical Instruments industry with respect to share price movement. The stock gained 17.43% in this period as against 2.21% loss of the broader industry. Apart from the strong quarterly performance, the company observed gross margin expansion on the back of strong domestic sales growth, favorable product mix and operational improvement. 

The company’s promising guidance for fiscal 2017 also raises hopes, while its strong cash balance position indicates solid fundamentals. We believe the latest divestment will give Hologic more opportunity to focus on its core productive business, allowing it to continue with this share price momentum in the coming days.

Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider

Hologic currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). A couple of better-ranked medical stocks include NxStage Medical Inc. NXTM and Baxter International Inc. BAX. Both the companies sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

NxStage Medical surged 30.2% over the last one year compared with the S&P 500’s 11.2% growth over the same period. The company has a four-quarter average positive earnings surprise of 46.3%.

Baxter International rallied 20.8% over the last one year, much higher than the S&P 500. It has a trailing four-quarter average positive earnings surprise of 27%.

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