Report: ICU Medical pulls the plug on billion-dollar buyout effort

ICU Medical ($ICUI) is out of the running for a buyout, Bloomberg reports, giving up on a protracted process just as the company's founder and CEO steps down.

Citing sources close to the process, the news agency reports that all of ICU's promising leads have gone dead, and the company is walking away from the table without an offer. ICU is said to have held talks with private equity outfit GTCR, larger rival CareFusion ($CFN) and others, but none of the parties could come to terms on a deal, with ICU reportedly seeking more than $1 billion.

ICU never acknowledged any plan to sell itself, but the company is said to have retained JPMorgan Chase over the summer to help scout for potential acquirers, and, in quarterly results released this week, ICU reported an $800,000 charge tied to "a strategic transaction that did not go forward."

The company's shares fell about 7% to $63.45 on Thursday, down more than 15% from the high of $75 they hit in August when buyout rumors ramped up.

Meanwhile, CEO George Lopez, who founded the company more than 30 years ago, has stepped down from the top post, citing health reasons. Lopez will keep his position as chairman of the board and remain an employee of ICU's R&D department while former Vice President of Operations Steve Riggs serves as acting CEO, the company said.

ICU makes intravenous devices used in infusion therapy, oncology and critical care. Last quarter, the company pulled in $82.8 million in revenue, a roughly 2% increase over the same period last year, while net income slipped almost 10% to $11 million.

- read the Bloomberg news
- here's ICU's statement on Lopez
- check out the company's full results