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Guidant's Loss of Innocence

Executive Summary

Since its 1994 spin off, Guidant has built itself into one of the leading cardiovascular device companies through a deft technology innovation. But a series of recent missteps, most visibly in its AAA graft business but most importantly in its drug-eluting stent business, has caused this former start-up to grow up quickly. But Guidant officials counter that the AAA problems will quickly be put behind and that the drug-eluting stent program will emerge a winner, every bit as strong as its traditional bare metal stent business and its currently robust cardiac rhythm management business.

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Boston Scientific CEO Jim Tobin, in a series of addresses, defends his company's decision to spend $27.3 billion on Guidant Inc., warts and all. Defying criticism of the deal, Tobin lays out how Boston Scientific management corrected Guidant's problems--and why the new company will thrive.

Elephant Cha-Cha: The J&J/Guidant Deal

If you want some sense of the magnitude of Johnson & Johnson's recently announced acquisition of Guidant Corp., consider this: the $25.4 billion price tag was more than six times larger than any other deal done in the medical device space over the past six years; Still, if device industry executives were amazed by the deal, they weren't surprised. J&J's play for Guidant had been rumored for years-driven, it was argued, by a logical desire on the part of J&J to build on a valuable cardiovascular device business by accessing a major cardiac rhythm management (CRM) business. But it was the vascular business of both companies that seemed to propel the merger beyond the talking stages, beginning most notably, with the deal J&J and Guidant signed earlier this year to co-promote Cordis' Cypher drug-eluting stent. However, for all of the promise implicit in the merger of these two giants, there are enormous integration issues to be addressed, both before and after the deal closes. And for now, precisely how these challenges are resolved is likely to be fraught with uncertainty.

Elephant Cha-Cha: The J&J/Guidant Deal

If you want some sense of the magnitude of Johnson & Johnson's recently announced acquisition of Guidant Corp., consider this: the $25.4 billion price tag was more than six times larger than any other deal done in the medical device space over the past six years; Still, if device industry executives were amazed by the deal, they weren't surprised. J&J's play for Guidant had been rumored for years-driven, it was argued, by a logical desire on the part of J&J to build on a valuable cardiovascular device business by accessing a major cardiac rhythm management (CRM) business. But it was the vascular business of both companies that seemed to propel the merger beyond the talking stages, beginning most notably, with the deal J&J and Guidant signed earlier this year to co-promote Cordis' Cypher drug-eluting stent. However, for all of the promise implicit in the merger of these two giants, there are enormous integration issues to be addressed, both before and after the deal closes. And for now, precisely how these challenges are resolved is likely to be fraught with uncertainty.

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