J&J ponies up $4B+ for Abbott Medical Optics

Johnson & Johnson is boosting its eye health offerings with a $4.325 billion acquisition of Abbott Medical Optics. J&J will pick up products for cataract surgery, laser refractive surgery and consumer eye health.

The all-cash deal, announced Friday, is expected to close in Q1 2017, according to a statement. Abbott Medical Optics posted $1.1 billion in sales for 2015, and will allow J&J to expand its footprint in the eye health industry. In addition to acquiring Abbott’s intraocular lenses used in cataract surgery, J&J will also pick up devices for LASIK refractive surgery as well as consumer products, such as contact lens solutions and dry eye drops, according to the statement.

“With the acquisition of Abbott Medical Optics’ strong and differentiated surgical ophthalmic portfolio, coupled with our world-leading ACUVUE contact lens business, we will become a more broad-based leader in vision care,” said Ashley McEvoy, company group chairman responsible for J&J’s vision care companies, in the statement. “Importantly, with this acquisition we will enter cataract surgery--one of the most commonly performed surgeries and the number one cause of preventable blindness.”

The deal is a boon for Abbott as well. It comes at a point where the devicemaker is balancing two ongoing transactions: the $25 billion purchase of St. Jude Medical, whose heart failure devices are intended to flesh out Abbott’s cardiac offerings, and the $5.8 billion Alere buyout that it has been trying to get out of for months.

"We've been actively and strategically shaping our portfolio, which has recently focused on developing leadership positions in cardiovascular devices and expanding diagnostics," said Abbott CEO Miles White in a statement.

An FTC request for additional info has delayed the St. Jude deal, while Alere rejected the $50 million breakup fee Abbott offered in April and, in August, sued the devicemaker to complete the deal.