Smiths Group rejects $3.9B offer for medical unit

The U.K.'s Smiths Group late Friday said it had rejected a cash offer of $3.9 billion from private-equity firm Apax Partners for its medical unit. Smiths Medical makes syringe infusion systems and implantable ports for CT scanning.

"The Board has carefully considered this approach with its advisers and has concluded that it would not be in the interests of shareholders to pursue discussions on the basis of an indication at this price level," the group says in a statement. The cash offer was reportedly made by London-based Apax, Bloomberg and others report, citing two sources who declined to be named because the bidder's identity is private.

Last year, Smiths CEO Philip Bowman said the company would not be broken up in the near future and that it was "better to be a buyer than a seller" of businesses, according to the Telegraph. "There's another 18 months or so of operating efficiencies and improvements, and we also need to turn our attention more to the revenue line," he said. "The forward radar is scanning the horizon for bolt-on acquisitions."

According to its website, Smiths Medical offers medical devices for the hospital, emergency, home and specialist environments. It has a number of brands in its portfolio, including Portex, Medex, Deltec, Level1, Cozmore, Pneupac, Wallace, CADD, BCI, Jelco, Medfusion and Surgivet.

- read the Smiths Group release
- get more from the WSJ
- check out the Bloomberg report
- see the Telegraph's report