The deal: Danaher buyout of Nobel Biocare
The price tag: $2.2 billion
Inversion? No, Nobel is a Swiss company, but Danaher will remain incorporated in the U.S.
Status: Closed in December 2014
Why it matters: Don't forget about dental devices. Danaher ($DHR) bulked up in that arena by scooping up Switzerland's Nobel Biocare.
The acquisition will increase Danaher's dental revenues by more than 35%, bringing them to almost $3 billion, with about two-thirds coming from high-value consumables like dental implants. Danaher expects the new offerings to be complementary to its own dental products in 3D imaging, intraoral scanning and CAD/CAM equipment.
Private equity firms, including EQT (the buyer of Siemens' hearing aids business), were rumored to be interested in Nobel, but in the end serial acquirer Danaher responded to Wall Street's call for another big deal. The company had previously disappointed investors by losing out on Ortho Clinical Diagnostics to the Carlyle Group.
|Danaher CEO Thomas Joyce|
And prior to the Nobel deal, Citigroup analyst Deane Dray told Bloomberg that pressure to create "baby Danahers" by splitting the company into its constituent parts could reach a tipping point if another big deal is not consummated this year. Besides Danaher's healthcare arm--consisting of lab equipment, diagnostics and dental devices--the conglomerate's other units include tools for testing water quality and communications networking equipment.
The dental arm is one of Danaher's newer businesses, put together over the past decade with more than 24 acquisitions, starting with the 2004 purchase of German dental company Kaltenbach & Voigt for $425 million.
Meanwhile, Zimmer ($ZMH) also grew stronger in dental devices last year with its acquisition of Biomet. Though the deal was primarily driven by changes in the orthopedics industry, Zimmer CEO David Dvorak pointed out that the company's dental unit was set to double in size upon closure. In 2013, Biomet considered spinning off the dental unit but opted against it.
The plethora of devices used at the dentist's office remain hot assets. Specialist Sirona Dental Systems' ($SIRO) stock increased 29% last year, making it one of med tech's best performing stocks.
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