Zimmer to divest three U.S. businesses to appease FTC, hit mid-June Biomet acquisition close

High-Flex Knee System--Courtesy of Zimmer

Zimmer ($ZMH) already has clearances from regulators in Europe and Japan for its proposed $13.4 billion acquisition of Biomet. Now it's close to gaining the go-ahead from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Zimmer has disclosed that it has secured buyers for three U.S. businesses to satisfy FTC requests: Zimmer Unicompartmental High-Flex Knee System assets, Biomet Discovery Elbow System assets and Cobalt bone cement assets.

With this concession, the acquisition is now expected to close the deal in mid-June, after finalizing an agreement with the FTC in the next few weeks. Closure for the Biomet buy has been a long time coming and has faced delays due to regulator concerns; when it was first announced in April 2014, the deal was expected to close during the first quarter of 2015.

"We're very pleased to have received the clearances from both the European Commission and Japan FTC. As you know that we're focused on the US FTC, but I would add that we're encouraged by the substantial progress we're making to complete the final steps there as well and it is our expectation that we're going to get the transaction closed in May," Zimmer President and CEO David Dvorak said on the company's April 30 earnings call.

He added that the requirements from regulators were "very consistent with what we anticipated in our diligence work pre-execution of the deal and I think we're going to land in a very good place and it just took a little bit longer than we thought."

Zimmer agreed to a somewhat similar deal with regulators in Europe, where Italian orthopedic player Lima Corporate purchased European rights to Zimmer's Unicompartmental High Flex Knee and Biomet's Discovery Elbow System as well as rights to Biomet's Vanguard Complete Knee System in Denmark and Sweden for an undisclosed sum.

- here is the release