Wright commits $126M in two foot-and-ankle device M&A deals

Tennessee's Wright Medical ($WMGI) is forking over as much as $126 million to snatch up two smaller rivals, continuing a strategy of growth, in part, through acquisitions.

The Memphis-based med tech company, which is focused on surgical tools and products for the foot and ankle, said it will pay $90 million in cash and stock for Solana Surgical, a fellow Memphis extremity orthopedic device company. Wright also expects to pay up to $36 million in cash for OrthoPro, a Salt Lake City developer of foot and ankle-related surgical products.

The Solana deal is already done. If all goes well, the OrthoPro purchase will close in February 2014.

Wright President and CEO Robert Palmisano explained in a statement that both acquisitions are complementary to Wright's existing foot and ankle product line and that they'll help fuel faster growth, particularly in the extremity space.

Wright took another step in that direction last October, with its $80 million acquisition of French orthopedics extremities implant maker Biotech International for as much as $80 million.

Wright's shift to the extremities business and away from hips and knees (It sold off that business to MicroPort Medical for $290 million last summer.) takes it a long way from a 2010 kickback scandal that set the company back in terms of both settlement dollars and boardroom talent.

But it has struggled with one of those acquisitions. Wright paid $190 million for BioMimetic Therapeutics and the Augment Bone Graft, but the FDA rejected the product last March with a demand for more clinical studies. (Regulators have since said they will reconsider their Augment ruling.)

Wright is taking logical steps by expanding through acquisition, however, grabbing companies with fairly developed products that can accommodate its new streamlined focus and help rebuild it into a stronger situation down the line. It's to be continued to see whether Wright, itself a takeover target, can succeed with that strategy in the long term.

- read the release
- here's MassDevice's take

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