June 11, 2018 / 2:48 PM / 4 months ago

Medical device maker Stryker makes takeover approach to Boston Scientific: WSJ

(Reuters) - Medical device maker Stryker Corp has made a takeover approach to rival Boston Scientific Corp, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday, a combination that would give Stryker a strong position in stroke-preventing heart products.

It is not clear whether Boston Scientific is open to a potential acquisition by Stryker, the Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

A deal would create a combined company with a market value of more than $110 billion and a wide breadth of product offerings from cardiology and orthopedics to surgical supplies and neuroscience at a time when leaders in the sector feel the need to be able to offer hospitals and other customers a one-stop shopping experience.

Representatives of both Stryker and Boston Scientific declined to comment on the report. But the two have done business before. Stryker bought Boston Scientific’s neurovascular unit in 2010 for $1.5 billion.

Shares of Boston Scientific, which has a market value of about $44 billion, closed up 7.4 percent at $34.32, while Stryker shares fell 5.1 percent to close at $169.78.

Trading in both stocks was temporarily halted during Monday’s session on the New York Stock Exchange.

“If this news is accurate, it would create a roughly $24 billion medtech company, which would place it behind only Medtronic and Johnson & Johnson in total device revenue,” Wells Fargo Securities analyst Lawrence Biegelsen said in a research note.

He added that the combination would be one of broader scale with limited product overlap.

If the deal were to happen, Stryker would gain Boston Scientific’s line of heart devices, such as stents to prop open clogged arteries, defibrillators to correct dangerous heart rhythms, and its Watchman device to prevent blood clots from traveling around the heart. All of those devices reduce the risk of stroke.

The company has numerous other product lines that could enhance Stryker’s offerings, including in orthopedic surgery and neurological surgery products.

Boston Scientific lags behind Edwards Lifesciences Corp and Medtronic Plc in the fast-growing heart valve replacement market. It has pinned its hopes on an improved version of its Lotus replacement valve, set for launch in 2019 after withdrawal of an earlier version from Europe last year.

Stryker already has a leading position in orthopedics, such as spinal surgery devices and hip and knee replacements, as well as medical and surgical equipment.

There has been a slow stream of large consolidation deals in the medical device sector in recent years.

“For all the medtech companies, in order to remain and to become a more valuable supplier to their hospital customers, it is really more and more important to be able to offer ... a much more comprehensive product portfolio that sells into all different parts of the hospital under different specialties,” Morningstar analyst Debbie Wang said.

Early last year, Abbott Laboratories completed a $25 billion purchase of St Jude Medical, acquiring its chronic pain management business and significantly enhancing its cardiovascular device offerings, such as to treat atrial fibrillation that can significantly raise stroke risk.

In one of the largest deals in the sector, Medtronic in early 2015 completed an acquisition of Covidien for about $43 billion. The tax inversion deal enabled formerly Minneapolis-based Medtronic to take advantage of much lower corporate tax rates by moving its headquarters to Ireland and also gain a large portfolio of surgical and hospital products.

In 2014, Zimmer merged with Biomet in a $13.3 billion combination of two big providers of orthopedic, surgical and dental products, creating Zimmer Biomet Holdings.

Reporting by Ankur Banerjee in Bengaluru and Bill Berkrot in New York; additional reporting also by Tamara Mathias in Benaluru; editing by Shailesh Kuber, Marguerita Choy and G Crosse

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