Given Imaging abandons quest to be sold

PillCams--courtesy of Given Imaging

Given Imaging ($GIVN) ended 2012 actively exploring a possible sale or merger--a bid in part to access more capital. But now the Israeli maker of the PillCam endoscopic pill camera and other related devices has pulled back from the idea.

Investors weren't pleased. The company's stock traded down more than 12% on Jan. 15 during late-morning trading, dropping to $15.93.

Given had said late last year that it was actively pursuing "strategic options" including a possible merger with potential suitors or even an outright sale. Reports surfaced soon after that a unit of Japan's Fujifilm Holdings wanted to pay as much as $750 million for the company, and other interested buyers had also inquired.

But that's all done now. Given explains that the executive committee of the Board of Directors it appointed to oversee the whole thing "unanimously concluded" a different course of action would be better: continued focus on the company's operating plan, plus acquisitions and alliances. It's an interesting turn of events, but Given has every shot at building itself into a stronger independent player in the endoscopy space. On its own, however, Given will lack the support of an owner with deep pockets that could fuel a muscular expansion.

Launched in 2001, Given Imaging has nonetheless become a global presence, with subsidiaries in the U.S., Germany, France, Japan, Australia, Vietnam, Hong Kong and Brazil.

Along the lines of pursuing its operating plan, Given recently disclosed it will seek FDA de novo clearance for PillCam Colon 2, to market the device to visualize the lower gastrointestinal tract. It is also pursuing approval in Japan. In the U.S., Given's approval focus will involve patients who can't receive a colonoscopy due to health risks or who could not undergo a complete procedure. PillCam Colon 2 has had EU clearance since 2009.

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