October 11, 2007 / 8:05 PM / 11 years ago

UPDATE 1-Biomet says part of informal SEC probe

(Adds company comment, background)

LOS ANGELES, Oct 11 (Reuters) - Biomet Inc said on Thursday it is part of an informal probe by the Securities and Exchange Commission into companies in the medical devices industry.

Biomet said it received notification from the SEC on Sept. 25, the same day that four private equity firms officially took control of the company.

Blackstone Group LP (BX.N), Goldman Sachs Group Inc’s (GS.N) private equity arm, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co, and TPG Capital are the buyout firms that purchased the company in a $11.4 billion deal.

“This was not expected,” Biomet Chief Financial Officer Daniel Florin told Reuters when asked if the company was anticipating news of the informal SEC investigation.

Florin also said Biomet was “not aware” of any connection between the informal SEC probe and recent investigation by federal prosecutors in New Jersey.

Biomet, Zimmer Holdings Inc ZMH.N, Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N) unit DePuy Orthopaedics and Smith & Nephew Plc (SN.L) paid a total of $311 million to settle with federal prosecutors in New Jersey, who alleged the companies struck consulting deals with surgeons in a bid to sway decisions about which hip and knee implants patients received.

A fifth company, Stryker Corp (SYK.N) paid no civil settlement, but entered a nonprosecution agreement with the government and was the first company to agree to cooperate with prosecutors.

Biomet said it intends to fully cooperate with the SEC investigation. (Reporting by Lisa Baertlein and Michael Flaherty)

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