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NATION / WORLD: MEDICAL PRODUCTS

J&J to Sell Irish Unit to Get OK for DePuy

October 30, 1998| Bloomberg News

Johnson & Johnson, one of the world's largest medical devices makers, agreed to sell its Irish hip-and-knee implant businesses to gain European Union approval of its $3.5-billion purchase of DePuy Inc. The European Commission, the EU's executive agency, said Johnson & Johnson's takeover of the world's biggest maker of artificial hips would give the combined company an excessive share of the Irish market. The commission also said the buyer of the unit must be a Johnson & Johnson competitor. The sale of the Irish unit shouldn't cause a large revenue loss for New Brunswick, N.J.-based Johnson & Johnson, an analyst said. Johnson & Johnson shares rose $1.56 to close at $82.38; DePuy, based in Warsaw, Ind., rose 6 cents to close at $35. Both trade on the NYSE. Johnson & Johnson said Wednesday that it could complete the DePuy buy within days. The combined company would have worldwide orthopedic devices sales of about $1.4 billion and would be one of the world's two biggest orthopedic products makers.

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