Sun, Sep 18, 2016 - Page 16 News List

J&J to buy Abbott’s eye surgery unit


Johnson & Johnson (J&J) has agreed to buy Abbott Laboratories’ eye-surgery equipment unit for US$4.33 billion, moving the healthcare giant toward its goal of boosting its three core businesses.

The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of next year, the companies said on Friday in separate statements.

The unit, called Abbott Medical Optics, makes equipment used in surgeries to repair cataracts and in Lasik procedures to improve vision, as well as eye drops and solutions.

It generated US$1.13 billion in sales for Abbott last year.

J&J, the world’s biggest maker of healthcare products, has been chasing deals for all three of its main businesses to boost growth and offset potential competition for prescription medicines, the largest unit at the New Brunswick, New Jersey-based company.

For Abbott, the divestiture is another step in chief executive officer Miles White’s effort to refocus the company since spinning off AbbVie Inc in 2013 and agreeing this year to acquire Alere Inc, a medical testing company, and St Jude Medical Inc, another device maker.

Abbott, based in Abbott Park, Illinois, paid US$2.8 billion for the medical optics unit in 2009. The sale will give Abbott a much-needed infusion of cash.

Abbott is focused on building a leadership position in cardiovascular devices and expanding in diagnostics, White said in the company’s statement.

St Jude is the leading maker of devices to treat heart failure, while Alere is the No. 1 maker of medical tests that are conducted at the point of care.

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