Merit buys GE unit for $167M

Utah's Merit Medical Systems ($MMSI) is spending about $167 million on Thomas Medical Products, a unit of GE Healthcare ($GE) that makes catheter-based vascular access devices.

Through the all-cash deal, Merit gets Thomas Medical's fleet of devices for electrophysiology, cardiac rhythm management, interventional cardiology and interventional radiology. Merit figures Thomas Medical will earn $37 million in revenue for 2012, and the acquisition will be accretive to Merit's net earnings from here on out, the company said.

Merit specializes in disposable devices, and CEO Fred Lampropoulos said the Thomas Medical buyout will give Merit a foothold in some high-ceiling markets, especially interventional cardiology.

"A majority of cardiac rhythm access procedures utilize products of the nature manufactured by Thomas Medical," Lampropoulos said in a statement. "We believe substantial international expansion opportunities exist, especially in China, Japan, Russia and the Gulf States, as well as significant new product development opportunities based on know-how and existing intellectual property."

For GE, unloading Thomas Medical allows the company to focus its cardiology business on lab-based products, and Tom Gentile, head of the company's healthcare systems unit, said Merit has the expertise "to take Thomas Medical to the next level."

Merit expects the deal to close before the end of the year.

- read the announcement

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