J&J offers EU concessions for Synthes buy

BRUSSELS Wed Feb 22, 2012 6:47am EST

BRUSSELS Feb 22 (Reuters) - U.S. healthcare company Johnson & Johnson has offered concessions in a bid to ease EU regulatory concerns over its $21.3 billion purchase of Swiss medical device maker Synthes Inc, the European Commission said on Wednesday.

The Commission, the competition regulator for the 27-country European Union, said it would decide on the deal by April 26 as it extended its deadline by 10 working days to assess the concessions.

J&J, which is buying Synthes to boost its orthopaedics franchise in its largest ever acquisition, submitted its concessions on Wednesday.

Some analysts have said J&J may have to divest some trauma assets to win regulatory approval. Medical devices and diagnostics made up 40 percent of its 2010 sales. Rivals in the sector include Stryker and Zimmer.

Companies can either offer to sell off assets or agree to licensing deals to offset possible anti-competitive effects from mergers or acquisitions.