Brooks Automation Splits in Two to Serve Chip, Drug Clients

Brooks Automation Inc. will split into two companies, one focused on the life sciences industry and the other on semiconductor manufacturing customers, making it easier for investors who want exposure to only one of those sectors.

The separation will bring sharper focus to its business lines in two specialized and in-demand markets, the company said Monday. The life sciences operations serve pharmaceutical and health-care customers in areas such as drug development and cell therapies, while Brooks’s automation business makes robotics for chipmakers.

“Over the past decade, we have successfully built two strong businesses in life sciences and automation,” Steve Schwartz, chief executive officer, said in a statement announcing the news. “We are convinced the separation will better position each of them to extend their advantages in the markets they serve.”

Brooks shares climbed as much as 9.6% in late trading, erasing almost all of their 9.8% decline in Monday’s regular session. The shares had risen 32% this year through the close.

Schwartz will lead the life sciences company, which generated revenue of $449 million in the year ended March 31. Dave Jarzynka, current president of the semiconductor business, will be named CEO of the new standalone Brooks Automation, which had revenue of $553 million over the same period, the company said.

Brooks is targeting completion of the separation by the end of December. The transaction will involve a tax-efficient distribution of shares.

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