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Medtronic spends $1 billion on heart valve acquisitions

February 24, 2009|Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS — Medtronic Inc. announced two acquisitions Monday that would expand the company's heart valve business at a price of more than $1 billion.

Medtronic, the world's largest medical device maker, said it would pay $700 million for Corevalve Inc. in Irvine and $325 million for Israeli firm Ventor Technologies Ltd. Both companies make replacement heart valves.

Corevalve said its technology had been implanted in 2,600 patients worldwide, though it had not yet been cleared for use by the Food and Drug Administration.

Rather than performing open-heart surgery, the company's system allows a surgeon to insert a replacement heart valve through a small incision in a leg artery.

Corevalve is eligible for additional bonus payments on top of the $700 million if its product clears certain milestones.

Ventor Technologies' products are designed for patients with heart valves that don't open completely, but who are too sick to undergo surgery. Medtronic estimated that about 300,000 people worldwide have the condition.

Lazard Capital Markets' Sean Lavin said the acquisitions were a positive development for Medtronic.

"We believe percutaneous valves may offer some of the strongest medical device growth over the next decade and, over time, Corevalve may move the Medtronic needle," Lavin wrote in a note to investors.

Shares of Minneapolis-based Medtronic rose 2 cents to $34.02.

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