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Last Updated: Friday, 13 January 2006, 06:58 GMT
Guidant takeover battle hots up
An implantable heart defibrillator
Guidant is having to choose between two determined suitors
A takeover battle for Guidant, a US heart care firm at the centre of a takeover battle, has hotted up after both bidders increased their offers.

Boston Scientific tabled a new offer of almost $25bn (14bn) in an attempt to lure shareholders from rival medical goods firm Johnson & Johnson (J&J).

The bid came shortly after Guidant had accepted a sweetened offer from J&J.

Both firms are attracted by the growth potential for Guidant's heart devices and see them as a good strategic fit.

At present the market for heart-rhythm products is worth some $10bn.

Tough choices?

Boston Scientfic's offer is about $73 for every Guidant share, and the company has given the firm's board until late afternoon Friday to accept the deal.

Boston Scientific offices

The company also said that it had looked to solve concerns relating to regulatory approval for the deal and the timing of the offer.

"Our amended offer addresses all of the outstanding issues raised by Guidant's board," said Boston Scientific chairman Pete Nicholas.

Analysts said the takeover battle may have further to run.

"Boston Scientific is firing a shot broadside against J&J and saying 'bring it on,'" said Steve Brozak, an analyst at WBB Securities.

"They are presenting themselves as a highly competitive and motivated buyer. This is the last thing J&J wanted," he added.

On Thursday, J&J increased the cash part of its offer and tabled $23.2bn for Guidant.

Guidant accepts sweeter J&J offer
12 Jan 06 |  Business
Guidant mulling new takeover bid
08 Dec 05 |  Business
$25bn bid sets up Guidant battle
05 Dec 05 |  Business
J&J agrees lower bid for Guidant
15 Nov 05 |  Business
Guidant sues J&J over $25bn deal
07 Nov 05 |  Business
EU approves $25bn healthcare deal
25 Aug 05 |  Business

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