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Abbot Laboratories, St. Jude to divest certain businesses before completing proposed merger

By Mark Iandolo | Jan 6, 2017

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.

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U.S. Federal Trade Commission