Smith & Nephew in talks to buy NuVasive for over $3 billion: FT

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(Reuters) – Britain’s Smith & Nephew Plc has held talks to buy U.S. medical equipment maker NuVasive in a deal that would be worth more than $3 billion, the Financial Times reported on Friday, citing people familiar with the talks.

When contacted by Reuters, Smith & Nephew and NuVasive said they do not comment on market speculation.

The exact terms of any talks could not be learned, and the discussions may still fall apart, the FT reported.

The acquisition would mark the first major move by Smith & Nephew Chief Executive Namal Nawana.

Nawana was appointed to the job last April in part for his deal-making expertise and his knowledge of the U.S. market, where the London-based company makes about half its revenue.

He was most recently chief executive of medical diagnostics company Alere, where he oversaw its $5.3 billion acquisition by Abbott Laboratories in 2017.

Smith & Nephew has been under pressure to improve its margins and find new sources of growth to tighten its competition with bigger rivals such as Stryker Corp, Zimmer Biomet Holdings and Johnson & Johnson.

The British maker of hip and knee replacement products last month closed the acquisition of a small California-based maker of surgical tools used in knee replacement, Ceterix Orthopaedics.

NuVasive, which designs and develops medical devices for spine disorders, has a market value of about $2.55 billion.

Smith & Nephew is valued at 13.28 billion GBP ($17.19 billion).