S&N takeover rumors rekindled

Smith & Nephew is back in the news as a potential takeover target with Biomet and Stryker ($SYK) named as suitors.

Warsaw, IN-based Biomet is rumored to be planning an £8 billion ($13 billion) bid for its U.K. rival, the Daily Mail is reporting. S&N refused to comment on the speculation. Biomet, which focuses on the orthopedic market, distributes its products in 70 countries and has annual sales of more than $2 billion annually, the paper reports. Roughly 5 years ago, S&N almost bought Biomet, but was outbid by a group of private equity owners.

Stryker could offer between 850 pence to 900 pence a share, the Independent says. However, Justin Smith of MF Global says regulators might have problems with any possible takeover. "The combined market shares of the hip and knee implant businesses would be anti-competitive," Smith wrote in a report, as quoted by Bloomberg. Divestments would be required, compromising "the strategic rationale of an acquisition because the synergies would be so limited."

Biomet and Styker haven't been the only companies expressing interest in S&N. Late last year, Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) offered as much as £7.5 billion for the company. S&N reportedly turned down that offer, but the bid sent the company's shares soaring.

And J&J may not be out of the running yet, the Daily Mail notes. The healthcare giant could possibly make another offer if and when the other companies tip their hands.

- get more from the Daily Mail
- see the Independent's report
- check out the Bloomberg story