Cardinal Health (NYSE:CAH) has emerged as the leading suitor to buy Cordis, which makes stents, catheters and other vascular devices, according to the news service. Spokesman for J&J and Cardinal declined to comment on the rumor to Bloomberg. Anonymous sources told the Wall Street Journal in August that Cordis could command a $1.5 billion to $2 billion price tag.
In a note to investors, Morgan Stanley analyst David Lewis said the valuation was consistent with estimates that the Cordis business generates about $850 million in annual sales. He called a potential sale of Cordis consistent with efforts to streamline J&J’s Device business.
"A divestiture would be in-line with management’s efforts to prioritize its medical device business and focus on faster growth assets where J&J has strong competitive positioning," Lewis wrote. "Cordis has a dominant franchise in catheters as well as market share in balloons, guide wires and vascular closure devices."
Cordis was a pioneer in stents but has for years been losing share to rival device makers. In 2011 the company shut down its drug-eluting stent program, citing "evolving market dynamics" that made other cardiovascular device areas more promising targets for its efforts.
The sale would also fit in line with J&J’s larger efforts to streamline its business and reduce costs. The healthcare giant also sold its Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics unit for $4 billion in 2014.