Bayer's Choice: Other Than Beckman Coulter

Bloomberg News

The chance that Bayer AG might announce an acquisition Thursday of Fullerton medical instruments maker Beckman Coulter Inc. evaporated when the German conglomerate's diagnostics unit said instead that it bought the rights to tests for HIV and hepatitis C from four rivals.

Beckman's stock, which jumped as much as 10% on the acquisition rumors Wednesday, fell 20 cents Thursday to close at $39.81 a share on the New York Stock Exchange.

Bayer, one of the largest medical-test makers, said its Tarrytown, N.Y., unit reached licensing agreements on the tests with Roche Holding AG, Dade Behring Inc., Johnson & Johnson and Chiron Corp. No financial terms were released.

The licensing agreements will help Bayer, Germany's biggest drug maker, better compete in the $1-billion hepatitis and HIV clinical diagnostics market, the company announced.

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