U.K. rules tighten M&A window for Stryker, Smith & Nephew deal

A U.K. law successfully thwarts overly aggressive acquisition deals from taking large bites out of the medical device industry in the country. Colloquially referred to as the "Put Up or Shut Up" rule, it sets a 28-day limit on foreign corporations trying to make an M&A deal. The tightened time frame forces executives to come to the table with concrete plans, a tall order in the industry, but if it's not ordered, the rule enforces a 6-month freeze-out, or scheduled "shut up" time. Speculation has surfaced of late that Stryker ($SYK) will make a bid for Smith & Nephew ($SN), after it showed interest but did not make a formal offer more than 6 months ago. With foreign companies increasingly eyeing of the value of U.K. businesses, the M&A law, put in place in 2011, has been used more often in the past year than ever before. Story (sub. req.)

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