Smith & Nephew was down 8% on the March 3 news that Stryker now has a massive $2.6 billion authorization available for share repurchases. That's a significant shift in strategy for Stryker, which has been highly acquisitive in the last few years and has long been rumored as a potential buyer for Smith & Nephew.
Smith & Nephew is working toward having two-thirds of its revenue coming from higher growth areas. Acquisitions are core to that goal--in fact, during the fourth quarter any organic growth was wiped out by the impact from currency exchange and the only revenue growth came from its surgical devices acquisitions, which grew by 12%.
An aggressive acquisition strategy in order to broaden its product usage in trauma units and hospitals continues to be the focus for Stryker.
Stryker CEO Kevin Lobo expounded on the importance of specialized sales forces during his presentation at the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco and took a jab at Smith & Nephew's contrasting rep-less pilot program, which aims to cut implant prices in half through the use of automation.
Bloomberg reports that Stryker is planning to offer a premium for the U.K.'s S&N of about 30%. Currently, the target has a valuation of about $16.3 billion. The sources say a tax inversion is not planned. However, one of the unnamed sources also says Stryker's management could change its mind.
Rumors have been circulating in recent weeks that the French CEO of Smith & Nephew, Olivier Bohuon, would jump ship to run Paris-based Sanofi. But Bohuon told employees at a town hall meeting that he is "very happy" at Smith & Nephew, and several people with knowledge of the matter said he isn't planning to leave.
A U.K. law successfully thwarts overly aggressive acquisition deals from taking large bites out of the medical device industry in the country.
The clock is about to strike 6 months since Stryker expressed interest in acquiring Smith & Nephew, only to be dissuaded by a rise in that company's stock price once news of the potential deal broke out. And so begins the speculation that Stryker will actually make a bid on the fellow orthopedics company this time around.
Last week, Smith & Nephew announced it was laying off 108 employees due to the closure of its St. Petersburg, FL, operations, saying the advanced wound care business would be better off if it operated in a single location in Fort Worth, Texas. This week it sold its Gilberdyke, England, factory, saying it would manufacture polyurethane films for its wound dressings from the nearby Kingston upon Hull facility instead.
Olivier Bohuon, the CEO of artificial hip and knee maker Smith & Nephew may have a leg up over other potential candidates to take the reins of drugmaker Sanofi after the firing of Christopher Viehbacher last week. He has experience in pharma and has excelled at Smith & Nephew by moving it into new markets. Most importantly, he is French.