General Electric to Acquire Ionics
Growing GE's World-Class Water & Process Treatment Platform Adds Desalination, Water Reuse and Industrial Ultrapure Water Services
GE Infrastructure, a unit of General Electric Company (NYSE:GE) and Ionics, Inc. (NYSE:ION) announced that they have signed a definitive agreement for GE's acquisition of Ionics in an all-cash merger for $44 per share, valuing the transaction at approximately $1.1 billion plus the assumption of existing debt. Ionics is a global leader in desalination, water reuse & recycling, and industrial ultrapure water services. Ionics will join GE Infrastructure's Water & Process Technologies business unit upon completion of the transaction.
"Water is the lifeblood of industries and communities around the world, and scarcity, increasing demand and rising costs are driving the need to conserve, reuse and identify new supplies of this essential resource," said Bill Woodburn, President and CEO of GE Infrastructure. "The combination of Ionics' technology, project experience, and services network with GE's operating and project finance expertise will accelerate the development of technology solutions for the global water purification segment. We see significant revenue and cost synergies that will enable us to focus our resources on developing technologies that increase access to safe drinking water and provide industrial customers with greater access to ultrapure water sources."
Doug Brown, CEO of Ionics said, "Through this merger we create the opportunity to serve our industrial and municipal customers in new and exciting ways. Both GE and Ionics are focused on building the water services business. By combining our technology with GE's and by accessing GE's financial expertise and world class international organization, we substantially enhance our ability to deliver our water purification services globally."
George Oliver, GE Infrastructure's President of Water & Process Technologies said, "This acquisition strengthens GE's commitment to people, technology and solutions. There are great synergies between the two companies - GE currently has more than 2,000 scientists and engineers focused on improving water quality for industrial and commercial use, and the addition of Ionics expands our ability to provide solutions to our customers' most pressing water needs. Ionics has established technologies, engineering resources and global desalination management capabilities that gives GE a significant presence in the potable water segment.
"Because Ionics utilizes multiple technologies for its emergency mobile fleet, we will be able to offer expanded services for our industrial customers who need immediate assistance treating their water supply," Oliver said. "The acquisition of Ionics reinforces our commitment to our customers by providing the services they need to remain productive and profitable."
The merger is subject to the approval of the holders of at least two-thirds of Ionics outstanding common shares, usual government approvals and other customary conditions. It is expected to close in the first half of 2005. Certain Ionics stockholders, representing approximately 20 percent of the outstanding Ionics common stock, have agreed to vote their shares in favor of the transaction.
Ionics and its directors and executive officers may be deemed to be participants in the solicitation of proxies from Ionics' stockholders in favor of the adoption and approval of the merger agreement and approval of the transactions contemplated thereby, including the merger.
Goldman, Sachs & Co. and UBS Investment Bank acted as financial advisors to Ionics.