Fresenius grabs blood collection device maker Fenwal Holdings

Germany's Fresenius has disclosed surprise plans to buy blood collection device and products maker Fenwal Holdings. Neither side revealed the purchase price, but sources told Reuters that the deal is worth a cool $1.1 billion.

The element of surprise stems from the fact that Fresenius had been pursuing an acquisition of an entirely different company since April: hospital operator/rival Rhoen-Klinikum. But Fresenius' $3.8 billion bid has faced plenty of obstacles, now that devicemaker B. Braun and German firms Sana and Asklepios have turned the transaction into a bidding war. Fresenius said it hasn't given up yet, however, and is assessing its options, even though its initial bid for the company failed last month, Reuters reports.

Fresenius division Fresenius Kabi will pursue the actual acquisition of Fenwal, an Illinois company that makes automated blood collection devices and is owned by private equity firms TPG and Maverick Capital. Fresenius Kabi supplies blood bags and filters for manual infusion therapies to the European market, Reuters notes. With Fenwal, Fresenius also gains a quiet, but important, player in the Alzheimer's disease market, as Fenwal's products and technology are increasingly used by researchers, biotechnology firms and pharmaceutical companies in that area of focus, according to the announcement. Additionally, Fenwal has targeted China for some recent expansion efforts.

If all goes well, both sides expect to close the acquisition by the end of 2012. And Fresenius has said that it will finance its purchase from existing funds. In a statement, Fenwal president and CEO Ron Labrum said that "the products, services, technologies and cultures of both companies fit extremely well together" and that they will focus on a smooth integration.

- read the Reuters story
- check out the deal announcement