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Report: Baxter close to paying $4B for dialysis rival Gambro

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Baxter ($BAX) is reportedly within two weeks of throwing down $4 billion to snatch up Gambro AB, a Swedish maker of kidney dialysis machines. Bloomberg, which reports the story based on the proverbial "person familiar with the talks," said both parties are now discussing final terms after nearly a year of negotiations.

Should the deal go through, Baxter gains big. Baxter, the globe's second-biggest provider of kidney dialysis, could pursue a robust expansion of its dialysis-equipment business by grabbing its Swedish competitor. The combination would also enable Baxter to reduce research and development spending and cut costs in other areas, Bloomberg explains. 

But both companies have taken hits from run-ins with the FDA over quality problems. As Bloomberg notes, Gambro faced sales declines in 2006 after experiencing some production flaws with its dialysis monitors, and regulators banned their sale. Private equity firm EQT Partners AB and Investor AB have owned Gambro ever since. The FDA also hit Baxter with recalls this year regarding some of its buretrol and compounder devices.

In the face of slumping medical device sales, Baxter has also focused on growing through acquisitions--four so far this year, according to the article. 

- here's the Bloomberg story

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