Johnson & Johnson Flexes Its M&A Muscle with $12.5 Billion Shockwave Medical Buy

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Healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson announced on Friday that it is acquiring Shockwave Medical for a whopping $12.5 billion in cash, in a move that further bolsters its cardiovascular device portfolio. The deal allows J&J to add Shockwave’s innovative intravascular lithotripsy (IVL) system to its offerings.

IVL is a minimally invasive technique that uses sonic pressure waves to crack calcified plaque in arteries prior to inserting stents – similar in concept to how shockwaves are used to break up kidney stones. This novel approach helps improve outcomes for certain challenging arterial calcification cases that traditional treatment can struggle with.

Under the terms of the agreement, J&J will pay $335 per share for Shockwave, representing a 17% premium over the company’s stock price in late March when acquisition rumors first surfaced. The total enterprise value of the transaction is approximately $13.1 billion when including the cash on Shockwave’s balance sheet.

The acquisition comes hot on the heels of J&J’s $16.6 billion purchase of heart pump maker Abiomed last year, as the company doubles down on expanding its cardiovascular capabilities. Analysts see significant opportunity in this space, with RBC estimating the total addressable market for IVL and similar calcified plaque treatments at around $10 billion annually.

For Shockwave, being acquired by the deep-pocketed J&J provides the resources to ramp up commercialization of its breakthrough IVL system, which generated $730 million in sales last year. Meanwhile, the deal aligns with J&J’s strategic efforts to augment its medical device segment amid increasing competitive pressures in its pharmaceutical arm.

The Shockwave acquisition exemplifies a broader trend of large healthcare conglomerates snapping up promising smaller companies and technologies to drive future growth. With organic drug pipelines drying up and patent expirations looming, “big pharma” players are turning to M&A to inject innovation into their product portfolios.

Just last week, pharma giant AbbieVie announced multi-million dollar buyouts of smaller biotech firm Landos. Earlier this year, AstraZeneca shelled out $2.4 billion for oncology innovator Fusion Pharmaceuticals.

For investors interested in identifying the next potential M&A targets in healthcare’s hot growth areas, one upcoming event to mark on the calendar is the Noble Capital Markets Emerging Growth Virtual Healthcare Conference on April 17-18. This two-day virtual investor conference will feature presentations from emerging public and private healthcare companies spanning biotech, medical devices, healthcare IT and services. You can register at no cost for this event here.

The Noble virtual conference provides an ideal opportunity for institutional investors, financial advisors and independent investors alike to gain insights into cutting-edge healthcare innovations that could be tomorrow’s M&A prizes for industry titans like J&J. Presenting companies will span an array of therapeutic areas including oncology, neurology, xenotransplantation and more.

As the Shockwave deal demonstrates, big pharma isn’t shying away from spending big to stay ahead of the healthcare innovation curve. For investors, uncovering the next game-changing therapies and technologies could uncover lucrative future buyout candidates.


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