WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) —
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced Dec. 27 that Abbot Laboratories
will divest two medical device businesses after allegations its proposed $25
billion acquisition of St. Jude Medical Inc. will likely be anti-competitive.
The FTC charged the
merger would harm U.S. competition for vascular closure devices, which health
care practitioners use to close holes in arteries from the insertion of
catheters, and for “steerable” sheaths, which guide catheters for treating arrhythmias.
Specifically, the FTC alleged
that – after the acquisition – Abbot would control more than 70 percent of the
market for closure devices. Additionally, Abbot recently entered the
market for steerable sheaths – a market St. Jude has dominated for years.
In fact, St. Jude has held a near monopoly on the steerable sheath market.
According to the FTC, the merger would ruin any competition that was sparking
between the companies.
To settle the allegations,
the two companies must divest all rights and assets related to St. Jude’s vascular closure device
business and Abbott’s steerable sheath business. The rights and assets will go to Terumo
Corporation, a medical device maker in Tokyo.
The FTC voted 3-0 to issue
the complaint and accept the proposed consent order, which will go before
public comment for 30 days.