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Boston Scientific-Guidant Deal Gets Final Approval

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice signed off yesterday on what is by far the largest acquisition in device-industry history, the Boston Globe reports. Boston Scientific Corp.'s $27 billion acquisition of Guidant Corp. is expected to formally close today. It will make Boston Scientific the second-largest manufacturer of cardiac-assist devices, an extremely lucrative market.

Guidant's stent business is being sold to Abbott Laboratories, which is paying $4 billion in cash and acquiring $1.4 billion worth of Boston Scientific stock. The FTC is requiring Abbott, whose participation helped alleviate antitrust concerns, to sell the stock within 30 months. Now on tap are some of the most daunting tasks ever faced in the device industry: The first-ever integration of two giant firms, and the placating of CDRH, which has had serious issues with both companies in the past year. Inability to pull off the latter could compromise the firm's ability to introduce new products.

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