January 16, 2011 / 1:43 PM / 9 years ago

J&J mulls fresh approach for Smith & Nephew-paper

LONDON, Jan 16 (Reuters) - U.S. healthcare group Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N) is considering a fresh takeover approach for British artificial knee and hip maker Smith & Nephew (SN.L), the Sunday Times reported without citing sources.

The newspaper said J&J was weighing up whether to make a formal offer for Smith & Nephew worth at least 800 pence a share and valuing the business at more than 7 billion pounds ($11.1 billion), having had a tentative approach pitched at 750p a share rejected last year.

Smith & Nephew, which also has woundcare and endoscopy units, said on Friday it was not currently in talks over a merger or takeover. A spokesman for the company said on Sunday its position had not changed since then.

The company issued a statement on Friday having been at the centre of frenzied takeover speculation over the last week.

Sky News had reported that Smith & Nephew received a 7 billion pound ($11.1 billion) or 750p per share approach from J&J last month and the Daily Telegraph reported it had been approached by privately owned U.S. rival Biomet over a possible merger. [ID:nLDE70D0W9]

J&J said last week it did not comment on rumours or speculation as a matter of policy. [ID:nLDE7080EX] (Reporting by Matt Scuffham; Editing by David Holmes) ($1=.6312 Pound)

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