AZ, Dentsply reach deal on Astra Tech

Dentsply has emerged as the winner in the bid to buy AstraZeneca's Astra Tech unit. The York, PA-based company has agreed to buy the unit for approximately $1.8 billion in cash. The deal is expected to close during the second half of the year.

"Following a comprehensive strategic review, we believe this transaction represents an excellent outcome for AstraZeneca shareholders," AstraZeneca CEO David Brennan (photo) said in a statement. "The high degree of interest and the competitive nature of this process is evidence of the value that the employees of Astra Tech have built in the marketplace. I want to thank them for their contribution and believe they are well placed to build upon this successful foundation under Dentsply's ownership."

Astra Tech has two main business divisions--dental implants and healthcare, which focuses on medical devices for use primarily in urology and surgery. Last year, the unit recorded worldwide revenue of $535 million.

In a separate statement, Dentsply says the buy will increase its revenue by approximately 25 percent and will double its position within the high growth dental implant segment.

"Astra Tech provides a dynamic opportunity for DENTSPLY in several areas," Dentsply Chairman and CEO Bret Wise says in a statement. "The combination more than doubles our position in dental implants while expanding the breadth of our portfolio in this growing segment of dentistry. The urology and surgery business and management team provide us with additional growth opportunities within the broader medical devices category with a strong market position and an exciting pipeline of new products. The level of innovation and clinical research at Astra Tech is extremely complementary with our existing business and strategy and will clearly differentiate us from our competition.

Shore Capital analysts Brian White and Paul Taylor said the deal represented a positive outcome for the pharma company. "AstraZeneca has not offered specific details on how the proceeds from the sale will be used, but given the powerful cash generative ability of is operations and the timing of the sale completion, they could certainly augment the company's ability to continue to return cash to shareholders in 2012," they said, as quoted by the Manchester Evening News.

- see the AstraZeneca announcement
- check out Dentsply's statement
- read the story in the Manchester Evening News