Boston Scientific May Sell 2 Surgical Businesses

Talks with potential buyers of the cardiac surgery and vascular surgery units are expected to take months.

NATICK, Mass. (AP) — Boston Scientific Corp. said Thursday it may sell its cardiac surgery and vascular surgery businesses as part of an overall plan to strengthen its finances.
The announcement came three weeks after the Natick-based medical device maker said it was exploring a possible sale of another unit that makes products to manage fluid and measure pressure during certain heart procedures.
''We have now identified three nonstrategic businesses to divest, and we are in discussions with potential buyers for all three,'' said Paul LaViolette, Boston Scientific's chief operating officer.
Boston Scientific acquired the cardiac surgery unit in April 2006 through its $27 billion acquisition of Guidant Corp. Lingering debt from that deal and downturns in two of Boston Scientific's heart device markets prompted all three major credit-ratings agencies to recently downgrade the company's standing to junk bond territory.
The 450-employee cardiac surgery unit — with headquarters in San Jose, Calif., and a manufacturing facility in Puerto Rico — makes technologies to aid in heart surgery. The unit generated $189 million in revenue last year.
The vascular surgery unit's products include grafts and patches for repair of abdominal aortic aneurysms. That unit, with 2006 revenue of $86 million, is headquartered in Wayne, N.J., with 250 employees. Boston Scientific acquired it in 1995.
Talks with potential buyers of the units are expected to take months, LaViolette said.
On Aug. 2, Boston Scientific said it had decided against selling a minority stake in its fast-growing endosurgery unit through a stock offering — a move that it has said could have raised as much as $1 billion to pay off debt. The 29,000-employee company has said it plans an announcement next quarter on expense reductions, including likely job cuts.
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