Deals wrap: Why does J&J want to buy Synthes?
Another multi-billion dollar international healthcare deal could be coming if Johnson & Johnson has its way. Synthes, a Swiss medical device maker, confirmed it is in takeover talks with J&J after reports the U.S. health giant is keen to buy it for about $20 billion.
What does J&J want from a Swiss company many have never heard of before? The acquisition, which would be J&J’s biggest ever, would give the company a leading edge in equipment used to treat trauma patients. Synthes makes nails, screws and plates to fix broken bones, as well as artificial spine discs.
But a deal is far from certain at this stage. As the WSJ’s Katharina Bart points out, key to any deal is the agreement of Synthes Chairman Hansjoerg Wyss, a “secretive billionaire” who owns 48 percent of the company directly and through family trusts.
In other health deals news, Community Health Systems, a U.S. hospital operator, sweetened its offer for smaller rival Tenet Healthcare by converting its existing $3.3 billion bid to an all-cash proposal. The new offer has changed to $6 a share in cash from $5 a share and $1 in Community Health stock. Tenet’s board of directors is reviewing the new offer.
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