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The Top 10 Device and Diagnostics Deals of 2012

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The corridors of power are a tad quieter when Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) isn't around to wield its outsize checkbook. Last year, J&J topped our deals list with a $21.3 billion handshake to soak in Synthes, so 2012 was relatively tame in comparison, as the titans of devices and diagnostics largely held back on banner acquisitions or opted instead to dink and dunk as needed--the Boston Scientific ($BSX) method.

But what 2012 has so far lacked in big dollar figures it has made up for in number of transactions. According to Irving Levin Associates, we're on pace to hit about 180 deals for the year, matching the average of the past three years. Furthermore, analysts have said CEO shakeups and political uncertainty put a strain on M&A in 2012, and we're likely to see a jump in acquisitions come next year, once U.S. healthcare reform is all sussed out and the device tax has softened the margins of would-be targets.

Click here to read our rundown of the top 10 M&A targets in devices and diagnostics >>

However, a closer look at the numbers reveals what could be an alarming trend in the device world: All of the billion-plus exits went to diagnostics outfits. It's easy--and accurate--to point to the hand-over-fist growth we've seen in the diagnostics industry of late, as most of the big-time Dx firms have met or exceeded their 2011 revenues in just 9 months of 2012. As the demand for molecular and companion diagnostics continues to climb, more consolidation is likely.

On the device side, the two most noteworthy deals focused on the future. Medtronic's ($MDT) $816 million acquisition of China Kanghui Holdings is in lockstep with the company's vow to get more and more of its annual revenue from emerging markets. Boston Sci's $425 million bet on Vessix Vascular was an entry fee to join the race to cash in on the soon-to-explode renal denervation market. Otherwise, slumping sales for device mainstays like implantable defibrillators and stents kept bold-print deals to a minimum.

That could change in a hurry, however. Baxter ($BAX) is rumored to be on the verge of a $4 billion buy of Gambro AB, a maker of dialysis machines. And, if analysts and unnamed sources are to be believed, we could be in for large-scale bids on the likes of Edwards Lifesciences ($EW), Illumina ($ILMN) and Volcano ($VOLC). -- Damian Garde (Twitter | email)

Aspen Surgical

Acquirer: Hill-Rom ($HRC)
Cost: $400 million
For more: Aspen Surgical sold to Hill-Rom for $400M

Vessix Vascular

Acquirer: Boston Scientific ($BSX)
Cost: $425 million
For more: Boston Sci jumps into renal denervation with $425M Vessix buy

Pall's ($PLL) blood-filtering unit

Acquirer: Haemonetics ($HAE)
Cost: $550 million
For more: Haemonetics taking on Pall blood-processing business lines for $550M

Becton Dickinson's ($BDX) labware unit

Acquirer: Corning ($GLW)
Cost: $730 million
For more: Corning offers $730M for majority of BD labware unit

Healthpoint Biotherapeutics

Acquirer: Smith & Nephew ($SNN)
Cost: $782 million
For more: Smith & Nephew deepens wound care with $782M buy

  

China Kanghui Holdings

Acquirer: Medtronic ($MDT)
Cost: $816 million
For more: Medtronic makes a splash in China with $816M Kanghui buyout

One Lambda

Acquirer: Thermo Fisher ($TMO)
Cost: $925 million
For more: Thermo Fisher snaps up One Lambda for $925M

Sunquest

Acquirer: Roper ($ROP)
Cost: $1.4 billion
For more: Roper buys Dx firm Sunquest for $1.4B

Dako

Acquirer: Agilent Technologies ($A)
Cost: $2.2 billion
For more: Agilent jumps into molecular diagnostics with $2.2B Dako deal

Gen-Probe

Acquirer: Hologic ($HOLX)
Cost: $3.8 billion
For more: Hologic wraps up $3.8B Gen-Probe buy


Update: Right after we compiled this list, Smith & Nephew announced its $782 million acquisition of Healthpoint Biosciences, notching it at No. 6 on our list and bumping off Covidien's ($COV) $346 million acquisition of Oridion Systems.