Abbott Laboratories ABT has agreed to divest two medical device businesses in order to settle Federal Trade Commission (FTC) charges in relation to its proposed acquisition of St. Jude Medical STJ .
Shares of Abbott Labs underperformed the Zacks classified Large Cap Pharmaceuticals industry in the year-to-date period. In fact, the stock has lost 14.9% during this period, compared with a drop of 6.1% for the industry.
Coming back to the latest news, the divestment will ensure fair competition in the U.S. markets for medical devices used in cardiac and vascular catheterization.
Note that the FTC had alleged that the proposed acquisition would impact the competitive scenario in the U.S. markets for vascular closure devices if the company proceeds without a remedy.
The merged entity would control more than 70% of the vascular closure device market. St. Jude has been a pioneer in the steerable sheath market for more than a decade and Abbott is looking to foray into the space. The merger would thus eliminate substantial price competition between the competitors.
Under the consent order, the companies are required to divest all rights and assets related to St. Jude's vascular closure device business and Abbott Labs' steerable sheath unit to Tokyo-based medical device maker Terumo Corporation.
Meanwhile, Abbott Labs is required to notify the FTC if it intends to acquire lesion-assessing ablation catheter assets from Advanced Cardiac Therapeutics. We note that Abbott Labs and Advanced Cardiac Therapeutics have a partnership for developing these catheters. However, following the St. Jude acquisition, if Abbott acquires the lesion-assessing ablation catheter assets from Advanced Cardiac Therapeutics, it could eliminate additional competition that would have resulted if Advanced Cardiac Therapeutics was independent.
Abbott has been facing issues related to its recent acquisitions. Earlier this month, the company filed a complaint to terminate its proposed acquisition of Alere based on a substantial deterioration in the latter's value following the merger agreement.
ABBOTT LABS Price and Consensus
ABBOTT LABS Price and Consensus | ABBOTT LABS Quote
Abbott Labs currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
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A couple of better-ranked stocks in the health care sector include Heska Corp. HSKA and Vanda Pharmaceuticals VNDA . Both of them sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank stocks here .
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