Report: ICU Medical nears sale that could top $1B

ICU Medical CEO George Lopez

ICU Medical ($ICUI) is in exclusive talks to sell itself to a private equity outfit, Bloomberg reports, and the California devicemaker could well go for $1 billion or more.

Chicago's GTCR is in the midst of negotiations with the company, and the private equity outfit has reached out to investors to raise at least $750 million, according to Bloomberg's sources.

Back in May, Reuters reported that CareFusion ($CFN), Hospira ($HSP) and at least one unnamed private equity outfit were considering bids for the devicemaker, and analysts figured offers could come in north of $1 billion. ICU reportedly recruited JPMorgan Chase to broker the sale process and help it field offers. The company hasn't commented on the process.

Investors seem particularly taken with the idea: ICU was trading at around $71 on Thursday afternoon and leapt to about $74.74 once the GTCR news hit Twitter close to 4 p.m. ET.

ICU makes intravenous devices used in infusion therapy, oncology and critical care. Last quarter, the company posted $78.7 million in revenue, a roughly 2% increase over the same period last year, and net income slipped about 18% to $7.4 million thanks to a 6% spike in operating expenses and a 44% jump in R&D expenses.

Despite the overall sales growth, ICU lowered its full-year expectations by nearly 4%, now projecting sales between $320 million and $325 million. Last year, the company reaped $316.3 million in revenue, a 4.9% increase over 2011 led by 8.3% growth in infusion revenue and a 24.2% sales leap in its small but fast-growing oncology business.

If the deal goes through, CEO George Lopez would be a chief beneficiary, as he holds an 11% stake in the company after founding it about 30 years ago.

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