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

Executive Summary

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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