“One of our key goals is to use our strong cash flow to create a larger, faster growing company for a post-pandemic world,” said Steve MacMillan, Hologic’s chairman, president, and chief executive. “Mobidiag provides an exceptional new growth platform, which will generate long-term value by enabling us to enter the acute care market.”
Kevin Thornal, Hologic’s president of diagnostic solutions, added that the acquisition will also help drive the company’s expansion into “near-patient testing” — testing that can be done in a variety of settings and produce an instant result — an option he said has become increasingly popular because of the pandemic.
Hologic is known for its focus on women’s health. It makes a range of products related to breast cancer, including imaging machines and a device for early-stage treatment. The company also has a line of diagnostics for cervical, vaginal, and sexual health, among other products.
Hologic has been growing quickly as of late. In the first quarter of 2021, the company reported revenue of $1.61 billion, an almost 90 percent increase from the same quarter last year. Already this year, Hologic has acquired two additional diagnostics companies — one focused on breast and metastatic cancers and the other on sexually transmitted infections and respiratory diseases — for nearly $390 million combined.
Hologic’s recent buying spree could signal a prosperous future, but that’s not always how big acquisitions have played out for the company. Just two years ago, Hologic shed a subsidiary for less than one-tenth the $1.6 billion it originally paid for it in 2017. MacMillan said at the time that the subsidiary had “significantly underperformed our expectations.”
When the markets closed on Thursday, Hologic’s stock was mostly unchanged, up about 1 percent at $73.58. Still, that’s an 87 percent increase from a year ago and a huge leap from the low-$20 range its stock was trading at when MacMillan came on board in 2013.
MacMillan came in under the supervision of activist investor Carl Icahn, who tasked him with leading a dramatic turnaround for the company. An analyst previously told the Globe that “Icahn went in because he saw a company with good products run by incompetent people.”
MacMillan essentially gutted the company’s senior management team and led an aggressive marketing campaign aimed at consumers for its $350,000 breast imaging machine, which ended up increasing interest from doctors and hospitals. Under MacMillan, Hologic’s stock saw a 56 percent increase over three years, which prompted Icahn to ramp down his activist involvement in 2016.
Last year, MacMillan earned $14 million in compensation. He’s played such an influential role in reshaping the company that when a competitor tried to hire him away in 2017, he received a special $30 million equity award from Hologic to stay.
Hologic has about 6,600 employees globally, including 840 based in Massachusetts. The company was founded in 1985 and its current market capitalization is $18.9 billion.