Amersham shareholders give the go-ahead to GE acquisition

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Amersham plc on Wednesday reported "overwhelming support" by its shareholders at their meeting to vote on the proposed $9.5 billion acquisition by General Electric Co. (GE).

If and when Amersham joins GE Healthcare, the addition of Amersham will catapult GE into the pharmaceutical market and, according to the company, help bring GE Healthcare to a leading position in the molecular imaging market.

GE Healthcare would create a new Life Science unit from Amersham, making it the fourth business in GE Healthcare, along with Diagnostic Imaging, Services and Information Technologies. GEMS also would relocate its cyclotron product line into the Life Science unit.

The U.S. Department of Justice on Dec. 4, 2003, notified GE that antitrust officials would not oppose GE's proposed acquisition.

The addition of Amersham also would make GEMS a $13 billion business. The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter.