CDU Associate

Just before presstime for this issue of Cardiovascular Device Update, Boston Scientific (Natick, Massachusetts) and Guidant (Indianapolis) reported that the FTC granted antitrust approval for their $27.2 billion merger and they expected to finalize the deal April 21.

At the end of March, Boston Scientific reported that the companies’ respective shareholders voted “overwhelmingly” to approve the combination of the companies at separate special meetings, this despite all the recent problems Guidant has had with its cardiac rhythm management products over the past year.

More than 96% of the shares represented at the meeting and more than 73% of the outstanding shares of Boston Scientific were voted in favor of the transaction at the Boston Scientific shareholders meeting. More than 98% of the shares represented at the meeting and more than 66% of the outstanding shares of Guidant were voted in favor of the transaction at the Guidant shareholders meeting.

“We are pleased and gratified by the strong support we have received from Boston Scientific’s and Guidant’s shareholders,” said Boston Scientific president and CEO Jim Tobin. “We are excited about the prospect of creating a global leader in cardiovascular devices, and we are eager to begin working with our colleagues at Guidant to realize the substantial benefits this combination will bring to shareholders, employees, physicians and patients.”

The merger had been approved earlier in April by European Commission antitrust regulators

In addition, Boston Scientific said the FTC also cleared the proposed $6.4 billion acquisition of Guidant’s vascular intervention and endovascular businesses by Abbott Laboratories (Abbott Park, Illinois). The deal with Abbott was made to satisfy concerns that the combined company could command too great a share of the market for heart stents.

Abbott has agreed to pay $4.1 billion in cash, and provide a $900 million loan to Boston Scientific and acquire $1.4 billion in Boston Scientific stock.

Guidant shareholders benefited from the delay in the closing of the merger which was supposed to be completed by March 31.

According to the merger agreement Guidant shareholders received an additional $0.0132 in cash per share for each day beginning on April 1 through the closing date of the merger – translating to roughly $4.5 million a day.

Boston Scientific on Jan. 25 won a nearly two-month bidding war with Johnson & Johnson (New Brunswick, New Jersey) to buy Guidant and its business in the fast-growing market for implantable defibrillators. The company has projected about one-quarter of its sales will come from Guidant’s pacemakers and defibrillators.