6 of the biggest Delaware tech exits since 2001

A look at some of the largest acquisitions of Delaware-based companies, featuring big names in biotech and financial services.

ING Direct became Capital One 360.

(Photo by Flickr user Ryan Keene, used under a Creative Commons license)

One of the signs of growth for an entrepreneurship community is its M&A activity. If you’re building companies that matter, some of them are going to be bought by bigger ones. Here’s that list for Delaware.
With 80 percent of the country’s pharmaceutical companies picking the area for their headquarters and a reputation for credit card processing, it’s no surprise that many of the First State’s larger acquisitions are mostly in biotech and financial services.
We rounded up some of the biggest tech exits from the state since 2001. This is not an exhaustive list, but it gives a strong sense of the distinctive flavor of the Delaware tech world. As always, if we’re missing something, remind us in the comments.

1. FingerWorks acquired by Apple (early 2005)
  • Fingerworks developed gesture recognition technology following on research from the University of Delaware. While the price Apple paid to acquire the company is unknown, former CEO Jeff White has said that the company’s stock value grew 20 times larger. The company was founded by John Elias and Wayne Westerman at UD.
2. NanoDrop  acquired by Thermo Fisher Scientific (October 2007)
  • At the time of the purchase, NanoDrop had annual revenues of about $35 million. The deal brought three different types of instruments that handle tiny amounts of samples for research to Thermo Fisher Scientific’s Analytical Technologies Segment.
3. Dade Behring acquired by Siemens (July 2007)
4. Cecon acquired by Becht Engineering (March 2015)
5. ING acquired by Capital One (July 2011)
6. DuPont Pharma acquired by Bristol-Myers Squibb (October 2001)
  • The pharmaceutical company paid $7.8 billion in cash for DuPont Pharma. With this acquisition came the company’s two best selling drugs, an anticoagulant and an AIDS drug. This had a huge impact on DuPont’s Wilmington headquarters. Shortly after the acquisition, BMS asked only 3,000 of the 5,000 former DuPont Pharma employees to stay on. The closing of research labs in Wilmington and Deepwater, N.J., also led to 655 layoffs. A entire network has formed from ex-DuPont employees who stayed in Wilmington, however. DuPont’s exit led to “the formation of a bunch of companies here by those entrepreneurial types who stayed,” said Bob Dayton, president of the Delaware BioScience Association.

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