ArthroCare Bid Signals Ortho Consolidation
If completed, Smith & Nephew’s acquisition of ArthroCare would help it diversify into the ENT market, but the deal may not get done as analysts speculate that competitors Stryker and J&J could step in with counteroffers. But the interest surrounding Austin, TX-based ArthroCare emphasizes the pressures being put on large joint makers to find new ways of making money in orthopedics.
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Device financing dropped more than 40% to $714 million in Q1; Smith & Nephew’s $1.7 billion acquisition of ArthroCare overshadowed acquisitions. Diagnostics companies raised $568 million, a 34% increase over 2013’s final quarter; nonprofits provided assets to diagnostics firms in multiple licensing arrangements.
China’s MicroPort Scientific paid $290 million in cash for Wright Medical’s hip and knee business, which has a pipeline of products – including FDA approved implants – ready for sale in China’s growing orthopedics market. The acquisition pits MicroPort against multinationals that previously held an edge selling implants to Chinese patients and doctors who seem to favor devices that carry approval from the US FDA.
Wright Medical’s decision to sell its hip and knee business wasn’t entirely unexpected. The buyer, the Chinese company MicroPort, may have surprised some, but changes in orthopedics and the device industry as a whole could make such deals more common.