Home >Companies >Philips to buy cardiac firm Spectranetics for $1.7 billion

Paris/London: Royal Philips NV’s $1.7 billion deal to buy Spectranetics Corp., a US maker of devices to treat cardiac disease, shows the Dutch company is moving more aggressively to bolster its growing health-care business.

Philips will offer $38.50 a share in cash for the Colorado Springs-based company, according to a statement Wednesday. The price is 27% above Spectranetics’ closing level on Tuesday. Philips also will buy back as much as £1.5 billion ($1.7 billion) of its own stock to offset share dilution from an employee incentive program.

Philips chief executive officer Frans van Houten has been on the hunt for acquisitions to fuel expansion in health care, already the company’s largest business. After spinning off a lighting division last year and selling another called Lumileds, the executive has made the market for medical equipment and services the company’s focus. Spectranetics was on Philips’s radar “for quite a while," he said on a call Wednesday, adding that, to his knowledge, Philips was the only suitor.

“With the ongoing sell down of light and the soon-to-be-sold majority in Lumileds, Philips is able to make the next move in its health-care strategy," Marcel Achterberg, an analyst at Degroof Petercam, said in a note. “Acquisitions should boost the growth rate."

Philips dropped 1.1% to £32.18 at 12:27pm in Amsterdam, where the company is based. The stock has returned about 16% this year including dividends, compared with a 9.8% return for the AEX Index.

Spectranetics is growing at a double-digit percentage rate and forecasts sales this year of $293 million to $306 million, according to Philips. The US company’s so-called image-guided therapy devices to clear blocked arteries provide an alternative to stents, which are metal tubes widely used in cardiac procedures, van Houten said. One product, laser atherectomy catheters, treats blockages with laser energy, Philips said.

High price

“This is a nascent business, one which can replace stents, which is a very large market," Van Houten said, adding that Spectranetics is seeking approval for its catheters from the US Food and Drug Administration, following clinical trials to prove their effectiveness in treating people with coronary conditions.

While paying a high price for Spectranetics, the CEO said he’s prepared to make additional acquisitions of a similar size as part of a wider growth strategy. The purchase values the unprofitable company at about 7.2 times revenue, compared with an average multiple of 5 times for similar deals, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The US cardiac device company will add to Philips’s medical products that already include scanners and ultrasound machines.

Separately, Philips said its buyback would cover about 46.1 million shares at the current stock price. The company aims to balance its capital allocation among investments in growth, maintaining an efficient balance sheet and providing returns to shareholders, Van Houten said.

Both the Spectranetics deal and the buyback were planned before a 18 June report in the Times newspaper that activist hedge fund Third Point Llc had bought Philips shares, Van Houten said. The CEO said he has no knowledge of the situation, and there’s been no contact with the fund. Under pressure from Third Point, Nestle SA on Tuesday announced a $21 billion share buyback to boost its stock price.

“There’s no comparison with what you are reading about Nestle," the CEO said. The update on capital allocation was timed with the closing of the sale of Philips’s LumiLeds lighting business, and with progress in selling down Philips’s stake in the light-bulb division that was spun off, he said. Bloomberg

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