Abbott Seeks to Terminate Alere Deal -- Update

Features Dow Jones Newswires

Abbott Laboratories said it has filed a complaint in court seeking to terminate its $5.8 billion deal to acquire diagnostic-test company Alere Inc., stepping up a battle between the two companies.

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In recent trading, Alere shares fell 9.6% to $36.05 and Abbott declined 0.9% to $38.07.

"Alere is no longer the company Abbott agreed to buy 10 months ago," Abbott communications executive Scott Stoffel stated in a news release. Abbott said it has filed the complaint with the Delaware Court of Chancery.

In a separate statement, Alere said the lawsuit is without merit and that none of the issues raised by Abbott provide grounds to cancel the deal. Alere said it has complied with its obligations under terms of the deal. The company also said it plans to take all necessary actions to protect shareholders and compel Abbott to complete the acquisition.

Abbott reasserted that several negative developments have diminished Alere's value since the deal was reached in late January, adding that Alere has blocked Abbott's efforts to obtain more details about the issues. These include the government eliminating billing privileges at Alere's diabetes unit, a product recall, government inquiries and the late filing of its 2015 financial results.

Abbott agreed to acquire Alere in late January, a deal Abbott at the time expected would make it a leading provider of point-of-care testing.

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Write to Tess Stynes at tess.stynes@wsj.com