By Brady Huggett

Packard BioScience Co. filed for a public offering of 10 million shares of common stock, 3 million of which will be sold by the company in a sale that, based on Thursday's closing price of $14.625, would raise about $43.8 million.

Packard BioScience's stock (NASDAQ:PBSC) dropped $1.937 Friday, or about 13 percent, to close at $12.687.

Seven million shares will be sold by stockholders, and certain stockholders will grant the underwriters options to purchase an additional 1.5 million shares to cover overallotments. Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Inc., of New York; Credit Suisse First Boston Corp., of New York; J.P. Morgan Securities Inc., of New York; Banc of America Securities LLC, of San Francisco; and Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc., of Milwaukee, are lead managers for the offering. Packard said in its prospectus it expects to receive about $41.2 million in net proceeds from the sale and would use the funds for general corporate purposes.

Approximately 4.5 million shares from the selling stockholders will be sold as a result of shares issued in connection with Packard's acquisition of the life sciences division of GSI Lumonics Inc., of Kanata, Ontario.

In August, Packard, of Meriden, Conn., paid $120 million for GSIL, spending $40 million in cash and another $80 million in stock. The acquisition gave Packard GSIL's software-controlled confocal scanning systems for the analysis of fluorescently labeled microarray biochips under the Scan-Array and QuantArray trade names. That fits well with Packard, which develops, manufactures and markets instruments and related consumables and services for use in drug discovery and other life science research industries. GSIL is now a part of Packard BioScience's subsidiary, Packard BioChip Technologies LLC. (See BioWorld Today, Aug. 22, 2000.)

In November, Packard launched in Hong Kong Packard Pacific Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary, planning to increase its presence and support for its products in China and the Pacific Rim.

In December, it agreed to sell its Canberra Industries subsidiary to Cogema, of Velizy Cedex, France, saying it wished to focus on research and development efforts in the life science field. The agreement was valued at about $170 million and was expected to close within three months. In its prospectus, Packard said it expected to receive between $120 million and $130 million from the sale.

Also in December, Packard and BioLinks Informatics Inc., of Shanghai, China, entered an agreement for the purchase of a large number of ScanArray microarray analysis systems from Packard's subsidiary, Packard BioChip Technologies. Packard said shipment of the systems would continue through April.

Packard has intellectual property backing up its technologies. It has approximately 65 United States and foreign patents and has more than 40 patent applications pending in the United States and abroad.

Following the offering, Packard will have about 70.7 million shares outstanding. As of Sept. 30, it had $52.8 million in cash and equivalents. n