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Johnson & Johnson, Abbott Medical Optics deal closes

by Thomas Dworetzky, Contributing Reporter | February 28, 2017
Business Affairs Medical Devices
Johnson & Johnson has finalized its acquisition of Abbott Medical Optics.

The all-cash $4.325 billion deal for the wholly-owned subsidiary of Abbott was first announced in September, 2016.

Abbott Medical Optics (AMO) had 2015 sales of $1.1 billion.

"With the addition of AMO's world-renowned ophthalmic surgery business, J&J Vision is poised to become a world leader in eye health," Ashley McEvoy, the company group chairman of Johnson & Johnson Consumer Medical Devices, said in a statement. "Sight is precious, it's the sense people fear losing the most. By bringing on board surgical solutions that are supported by the resources and global reach of Johnson & Johnson, we can improve and restore sight for more patients across the globe."

The deal encompasses ophthalmic products in three areas, including: cataract surgery, laser refractive surgery and consumer eye health – and features some well-known brands such as ACUVUE contact lenses. The latter will operate under the brand name of Johnson & Johnson Vision.

The total eye-health market is nearly $70 billion globally, and growing.

When the deal was announced, Miles D. White, chairman and CEO of Abbott, noted that "our vision care business will be well-positioned for continued success and advancement with Johnson & Johnson," adding that in addition to vision-related care, "we've been actively and strategically shaping our portfolio, which has recently focused on developing leadership positions in cardiovascular devices and expanding diagnostics."

The transaction won't disrupt the rest of Abbott, as it was “a self-contained business and had very little synergy with anything else in their device portfolio,” Morningstar analyst Debbie Wang told Bloomberg.

She advised that it looked to be part and parcel with a move by CEO White to redirect the firm – such as with the 2013 spinoff of AbbVie.

The Abbott move, she suggested, is part of this larger strategy that aims to take Abbott “down the path of these more sophisticated products.”

Abbott made news in January when it completed its acquisition of St. Jude Medical.

"The addition of St. Jude Medical strengthens our global medical device leadership while offering innovative products to address more areas of care, in more physicians' offices and hospitals around the world," White said at the time.

The deal boosted Abbott's presence in a number of key sectors, including cardiovascular and neuromodulation patient care, by bringing into the fold St. Jude Medical's assets in atrial fibrillation, heart failure, structural heart, and chronic pain arenas. These combine with Abbott's own assets in coronary interventions and mitral valve disease.

“Together, the company will compete in nearly every area of the $30 billion cardiovascular market and hold the No. 1 or 2 positions across large and high-growth cardiovascular device markets,” the company stated at the time.

It is estimated that the combined cardiovascular and neuromodulation portfolio will hit about $8.7 billion in annual sales.

The roughly $25 billion deal first came to light in late April, 2016. It was driven by the synergy in the cardiovascular arena, but also had positive positioning impact in diabetes, vision, and neuromodulation patient care products.

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