Biomet buying Lanx with eye on spinal implants

Biomet has signed a deal to acquire the venture-backed Lanx, looking to grab a bigger share of the spine market as demand for hip and knee implants wanes.

While neither side is disclosing financial details, Biomet said Lanx's portfolio of FDA-cleared fusion systems is just what it needs to expand its lagging spine business. Spinal devices account for less than 10% of Biomet's annual sales, but the Indiana devicemaker has long planned to diversify, and Lanx's technology will help it do just that, CEO Jeffrey Binder said.

"This is an exciting opportunity for Biomet to improve its competitiveness in the spine market by leveraging the best aspects of each company and adding strategically important technologies to our product portfolio," Binder said in a statement.

Colorado's Lanx markets minimally invasive devices for spinal fusion procedures, in May raising a $15 million Series C to expand its commercialization efforts. Biomet expects to close the acquisition by the end of November.

Last year, Biomet's spine and bone healing business slipped 5.1% to $291.3 million, part of a transitional fiscal 2013 for the company. Hip and knee implants, Biomet's largest business, sat about flat at $1.7 billion, but the sports, extremities and trauma unit soared 66% to $600.1 million thanks to the company's 2012 buyout of a former DePuy unit, carrying Biomet to 7.6% annual growth.

All the while, Biomet itself remains a rumored buyout target. Back in 2007, the company's private equity owners took it off the public market in a $11.4 billion leveraged buyout, and now they may be looking to cash back out. According to reports, Biomet's owners are considering a dual track process, under which they would file for an IPO while listening to buyout offers in an effort to get the best valuation.

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