Guidant ping pong

In the latest turn in the burgeoning bidding war over Guidant between J&J and Boston Scientific, Guidant on Wednesday accepted J&J’s $23.2 billion acquisition offer, but Boston Scientific has indicated it is not yet walking away from the deal. Moreover, Guidant has expressed to Boston Scientific that it is willing to consider additional talks and a better offer, and it is entirely likely that Boston Scientific will, given the $14 billion in funding available to them from banks who have agreed to help finance the deal.Both sides appear prepared to really go to the mat on the deal, which further supports the likely significance of “winner’s curse”, in which the ultimate acquirer ends up paying more for the deal than they should. Already, J&J has offered to pay $1.9 billion more than it offered in November, when it had then dropped the price to $21.9 billion as a result of the recalls that, in J&J’s views, had effectively reduced the value of Guidant. Of course, the $1.9 billion premium does not reflect any added Guidant value, but instead represents the price J&J is attempting to pay to take Boston Scientific out of the game.

One has to wonder, in this high stakes poker game, if one or both players recognizes that the goal is not to acquire Guidant but to make the other pay more than necessary while improving the likely terms to acquire the alternative ICD player, St. Jude.

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