Report: Surgical device maker Conmed shopping itself around

Surgical device maker Conmed ($CNMD) is said to be putting itself up for sale, ostensibly to avoid trouble from activist shareholders at its annual meeting later this year.

The Utica, NY-based company, which has a market capitalization of more than $1.2 billion, asked its financial advisers Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Greenhill & Co. to begin seeking possible suitors, Reuters reports. Potential buyers could include Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ), Covidien ($COV), Stryker ($SYK), Zimmer Holdings ($ZMH) and Medtronic ($MDT), the British wire service said, citing unnamed sources.

Conmed and Bank of America declined to comment to Reuters about a possible sale.

Conmed has an attractive orthopedics and sports medicine line. With sports injuries on the rise, coupled with an aging population, industry statistics predict the global arthroscopic implants market will increase from $2.2 billion in 2013 to $3.4 billion by 2020. However, sources told Reuters, Conmed's presence in other medical device areas such as general surgery, gynecology, neurosurgery and gastroenterology may make a fit difficult.

The dust-up with shareholders began last November when Voce Capital Management urged the company to put itself up for sale and nominated four candidates to the board. Then in February, Conmed settled with another activist investor, Coppersmith Capital, by placing two of its nominees on the board and replacing the chairman.

A tough proxy battle is expected at the company's annual meeting, likely to be held by the end of July. The company is scheduled to release its first-quarter 2014 results April 24.

- read the Reuters story

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