Zimmer (NYSE:ZMH) today said that anti-trust regulators in the European Union approved its pending merger with cross-town orthopedics rival Biomet, setting the stage for the $13.35 billion deal to close next month.
Warsaw, Ind.-based Zimmer said the European Commission cleared the deal on a conditional basis, provided the company goes through with its plan to divest certain assets.
"Zimmer expects to enter into such agreements in the near term," the company said. Last week anti-trust regulators in Japan OK’d the deal; the U.S. Federal Trade Commission is still reviewing the proposed merger.
The assets that would be divested include a unicompartmental knee brand and an elbow brand in the European Economic Area and a total knee brand in 2 EEA countries.
“Zimmer noted that it is pleased with and encouraged by the progress to date with the overall regulatory process and expects to close the transaction in April 2015," the company said in a press release.
Rumors surfaced this month that the deal is set for conditional approval from the EuroZone regulators. Zimmer, which would become the No. 2 player in the $45 billion global orthopedics market after the acquisition, revised its concessions to the European Commission last month, saying they were generally consistent with an earlier package.
In December the company proposed selling 1 brand for partial, or unicompartmental, knee replacements and 1 elbow brand in Europe, as well as a knee replacement brand in 2 European countries.
Earlier this month, Biomet said the U.S. Justice Dept. extended by a year a deferred prosecution agreement reached in 2012 over alleged violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
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