Baxter's ($BAX) $4 billion bid to buy Sweden's Gambro AB appears set to win EU regulatory approval, 7 months after first announcing its plans to buy the dialysis equipment maker. The company's decision to sell off a division seems to have swayed wary antitrust officials.
Reuters reports on the news, which is based on comments from two anonymous sources "familiar with the matter." Antitrust regulators reversed their hesitancy after Baxter said it would sell its continuous renal replacement therapy business to address their concerns about competition, those sources told the news agency. Not surprisingly, that off-the-record assurance contrasts with public statements. Both sides declined to comment on whether a deal had been reached.
A final decision is expected by July 22, the story explains.
Independent of any regulatory obstacles, Baxter has moved ahead under the assumption it would complete its acquisition of Gambro. Back in June, the company disclosed it would sell 5 sets of senior notes between three and 30 years in length to raise about $3.5 billion to help finance the deal.
Baxter makes machines for peritoneal dialysis, plus infusion pumps and blood therapy products. The Illinois company's plan to snatch up Gambro--one of the world's largest makers of hemodialysis equipment--will make it a global leader in the dialysis market. It's a smart, strategic move. As Reuters notes, the sector will only grow larger, in tandem with rising obesity and diabetes rates around the globe.
- read the Reuters piece