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Business Observer Monday, Jul. 2, 2012 10 years ago

Lincare to bring $3.8 billion

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The Linde Group has entered an agreement to acquire the home health company.

CLEARWATER — Munich, Germany-based gas and engineering company the Linde Group has entered an agreement to purchase Clearwater-based Lincare Holdings Inc. for about $3.8 billion, according to a news release from the company.

According to the release, Linde will purchase all of Lincare's outstanding shares of common stock for $41.50 per share, a 64% premium over the company's June 26 stock price of $25.26 (NASDAQ: LNCR). Bloomberg Business reports that Linde will use a loan and share sale to finance as much as $1.9 billion of the purchase price.

The company says in its release that the total consideration of the deal is $4.6 billion. Once Linde purchases Lincare's stock it says it will merge with the company and Lincare will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Linde.

Lincare is one of the leading providers of respiratory health care, specializing in supplying medical gases to patients and hospitals. By acquiring Lincare, Linde will double sales in its North American Gases Division.

According to the release, the two companies share some history. Lincare was originally known as Linde Homecare Medical Systems. Lincare was eventually carved out of the parent company that acquired Linde's U.S. business in 1917.

Lincare is one of the largest public companies in the Tampa Bay area, with about 11,000 employees. The company posted revenues of $1.85 billion and operating income of $382.11 million in 2011, according to its financial statements.

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