Part 2 Consents
Abbott Laboratories agreed to divest two medical device businesses to settle FTC charges that its proposed $25 billion acquisition of St. Jude Medical, Inc. would likely be anticompetitive. The FTC’s complaint alleges that without a remedy, the proposed acquisition would harm competition in the U.S. markets for vascular closure devices, which are used to close holes in arteries from the insertion of catheters, and for “steerable” sheaths, which are used to guide catheters for treating heart arrhythmias. Without a remedy, the merger will cause significant harm to competition in these two markets. The consent order requires the parties to divest to Tokyo-based medical device maker Terumo Corporation all rights and assets related to St. Jude’s vascular closure device business and Abbott’s steerable sheath business. The order requires both companies to assist Terumo with establishing its manufacturing capabilities. Under the order, Abbott is also required to notify the FTC if it intends to acquire lesion-assessing ablation catheter assets from Advanced Cardiac Therapeutics, known as ACT. Lesion-assessing ablation catheters provide feedback to physicians regarding the force being applied by the catheter or the temperature of the ablation target. Currently, only St. Jude and one other company provide lesion assessing ablation catheters in the United States. Abbott and ACT have formed a partnership to develop these catheters. After the acquisition of St. Jude, if Abbott acquired lesion-assessing ablation catheter assets from ACT, it could eliminate additional competition that would result from an independent ACT.