. . . While Zimmer Looks Out
Orthopedic implant companies are struggling with pricing pressures and new customer demands, and one company, market leader, Zimmer has responded with a major shake-up of top management. The question industry watchers are asking: does Zimmer's move represent the first step in a major retrenchment in orthopedics for Bristol-Myers Squibb? Or the beginning of a new, more aggressive effort?
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The once consolidating orthopedic implant business is, if anything, going in the opposite direction, given the decisions this week by parents of two of the leading companies to create stand-alone companies of their orthopedic businesses. Bristol-Myers confirmed what had been rumored for months: that it will spin off its Zimmer orthopedics business into a public company rather than sell the company to some other player. Earlier, Sulzer announced that it plans to spin off its medical device business, Sulzer Medica, in response to pressure from a large investor who was concerned about the industrial giant's declining stock performance. But these individual deals also represent a surprising industry turnaround--the consolidation of two years ago has largely stabilized pricing, allowing independent companies to thrive once again.
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