After FTC scrutiny, CooperSurgical calls off $875M deal for Cook Medical's reproductive health portfolio

After more than a year, it’s been called off. CooperSurgical has ended plans to acquire Cook Medical’s reproductive health portfolio—a $875 million deal that would have included medical hardware for obstetrics, gynecology and in vitro fertilization.

In a brief announcement from the Federal Trade Commission, the agency said it “has learned” of the termination and described the move as “a win for patients,” adding that it came after cooperation with international antitrust regulators in Australia and the U.K.

“Following a full-phase investigation by FTC staff, CooperCompanies’ decision to abandon this proposed acquisition ensures that critical reproductive health markets remain competitive,” Holly Vedova, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition, said in a statement.

Cook Medical did not respond to inquiries by press time. CooperCompanies, CooperSurgical’s corporate parent, refused to comment.  

The deal, first announced in February 2022, put forward a plan for a long gestation period: a step-by-step transition spanning two years, where Cook subsidiaries would continue to manufacture products for CooperSurgical. 

That included the U.S.-based Cook Spencer and Cook Vandergrift divisions, plus William Cook Australia, with promises to increase their production capacity to keep up with demand during that period. Over time, Cook Medical’s employees would transition to other Cook Medical products.

The financial side of the deal followed a similar timeline, with $675 million to be paid upfront and the remaining $200 million delivered in annual installments of $50 million over the following four years.

The pitch was to be the latest in a string of reproductive health-focused deals for CooperSurgical, which put down $1.6 billion to acquire Generate Life Sciences in late 2021 for its fertility cryopreservation services of donor egg and sperm, as well as newborn stem cell storage from umbilical cord blood and tissue.

Prior to that, 2021 also saw CooperSurgical absorb OBP Medical and its vaginal speculums, anoscopes and laryngoscopes; Safe Obstetric Systems’ tools for C-section delivery; and Aegea Medical’s in-office endometrial ablation treatment.