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Biomet could be next on the billion-dollar block

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Biomet's private equity masters are considering getting out of the hip and knee business, weighing either an IPO for the once-public devicemaker or an outright sale, The Financial Times reports.

Citing unnamed sources, FT reports that Biomet owners KKR, Blackstone, TPG Capital and Goldman Sachs have their eye on the en-vogue dual track, in which companies file for an IPO while listening to buyout offers in an effort to get the best valuation.

That method seemed to work for Warburg Pincus when, unsatisfied with bids for Bausch + Lomb, the company took a step toward an IPO and wound up selling the eye care giant to Valeant ($VRX) for $8.7 billion.

The private equity cadre bought Biomet in a leveraged deal back in 2007, paying $11.4 billion to take the company off the market. Since then, Biomet has grown its annual revenue from about $2.1 billion to about $3 billion, FT notes, all despite an ongoing slide among makers of hip and knee replacements.

Last quarter, Biomet's large joint reconstructive unit notched flat sales of $423.9 million, but, thanks to its December buyout of a former DePuy business, the company's trauma business grew 291% to $161.4 million.

Earlier this year, Biomet took a hard look at spinning out its dental business, 3i, but scuttled those plans in April, deciding to keep a unit that slipped 2% to $64.4 million in revenue last quarter.

- read the Financial Times story (sub. req.)

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