EXCLUSIVE-U.S. medical device maker Merit explores sale -sources

Jefferey Metcalfe

By Anirban Sen and Chibuike Oguh

March 9 (Reuters)Merit Medical Systems Inc MMSI.O, a U.S. medical device manufacturer with a market value of $3.5 billion, is exploring options that include an outright sale to a private equity firm, people familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

Merit Medical is working with an investment bank and has solicited acquisition interest from buyout firms, the sources said. There is no certainty that any deal will be reached, the sources added, asking not to be identified because the matter is confidential.

A Merit Medical spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Merit Medical shares rose 6.2% to $64.99 on the news in afternoon trading in New York on Wednesday.

Based in South Jordan, Utah, Merit Medical manufactures and sells devices and instruments used in cardiology, radiology, oncology, critical care and endoscopy.

The company attracted the interest of activist hedge fund Starboard Value LP, which clinched an agreement in 2020 to shake up Merit Medical’s board of directors.

The private equity industry’s appetite for deals in the healthcare sector has surged over the past year, as companies rush to meet pent-up demand for elective procedures following the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

A private equity consortium comprising Blackstone Group Inc BX.N, Carlyle Group Inc CG.O and Hellman & Friedman LLC acquired medical supply firm Medline Industries Inc last year in a $34 billion deal, marking one of the largest leveraged buyouts since the 2008 financial crisis.

In December, Carlyle bought a 50% stake in device manufacturer Resonetics.

(Reporting by Anirban Sen in Bangalore and Chibuike Oguh in New York; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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