Medtronic sells medical businesses to Cardinal Health for $6.1 billion

Medtronic plc (Dublin) is doing a bit of belated spring cleaning in the aftermath of its merger with Ireland-based Covidien plc a couple of years ago. The world’s largest medical device company by sales, according to sister brand MD+DI, Medtronic announced today that it will sell a portion of the business segments that came under its wing with the merger to Cardinal Health (Dublin, OH) for $6.1 billion. The deal is expected to close in Q2 2018.

Medtronic said in a press release that it will sell part of its business related to patient monitoring and recovery products within the Minimally Invasive Therapies Group to Cardinal Health, which provides custom healthcare products to hospitals, health systems and other clinical establishments worldwide. 

Cardinal Health said the deal would shift 23 product categories and more than 10,000 employees, reports the Minnesota daily StarTribune. It also picks up 17 manufacturing facilities in the deal.

Calling it a positive transaction for all involved, Medtronic CEO Omar Ishrak expressed the belief that “Medtronic, Cardinal Health, and our respective shareholders and employees . . . will all thrive under this change in ownership. In addition, it signifies our commitment to disciplined portfolio management.”

Ishrak added that the businesses and products that Medtronic is shedding would be better served by Cardinal Health. "Medtronic has had a specific focus over the past several years on ensuring that we are delivering compelling clinical and economic value to health systems and patients around the world,” explained Ishrak. "Ultimately, we came to the conclusion that these products—while truly meaningful to patients in need—are best suited under ownership that can provide the investment and focus that these businesses require.” Meanwhile, the proceeds will be invested in internal and external opportunities that are more directly aligned with Medtronic’s growth strategies of therapy innovation, globalization and economic value, he added.

The businesses that Cardinal Health is acquiring earned approximately $2.4 billion over the last four reported quarters, according to Medtronic. The product lines that are part of the transaction include dental/animal health, chart paper, wound care, incontinence, electrodes, SharpSafety, thermometry, perinatal protection, blood collection, compression and enteral feeding. Medtronic will retain its Respiratory & Monitoring Solutions business, which includes its airway, ventilators, monitors, sensors and health informatics product lines, as well as its Renal Care Solutions business, both of which are within its Patient Monitoring & Recovery division.

Medtronic and Covidien merged in January 2015 and got enmeshed in the tax inversion controversy at the time. While other such deals foundered under an Obama-led crackdown on inversions, Medtronic survived and, indeed, has thrived. Ishrak explained the company’s good fortunes to the Financial Times in January 2015 by saying that buying Covidien was as much about corporate strategy as taxes. “We just followed the rules and the deal was done based on strategic merits. So that’s why it’s more resilient to some of the obvious things that the Treasury did [to crack down on inversions],” he told the FT.

This latest transaction is one more example of a corporate strategy guided by strategic merits under Ishrak’s stewardship, which has been widely praised in the business community.

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