Friday's late report on the potential acquisition of Synthes by Johnson & Johnson has raised numerous questions and analyses about the magnitude of such a deal, and, how it would affect the spine, trauma, and maxillofacial markets. If an acquisition would occur, integration of these two companies could be a logistical nightmare. Those that are liabilities on one side or the other, would become collateral damage. Yet, the mere fact that Hansjoerg Wyss would entertain an offers does not bode well for Synthes employees. The current management team is old and tired, and still using the same old tricks of the trade that has been their modus operandi for years. The ride has been good. As TSB stated in the April 15th post, when hasn't Hansjoerg entertained an offer? It has always made his ego feel good, and rightfully so. Everyone knows that J&J has the financial leverage to consummate this deal, just like Medtronic. The only question this time is whether Hansjoerg intends on pulling the trigger? Regardless whether our bloggers like Synthes or not, one must respect Synthes for what they have accomplished. At one time Synthes was a near trauma monopoly. Synthes has lost some market share due to pricing and a steady decline in a culture that once was the jewel of the industry. Yet, the company continues to develop and market quality trauma products unlike the lap dogs Zimmer, Richards, Biomet and DePuy offer. Imitation is the highest form of flattery. Like their spine division, Zimmer Trauma could mess up a wet dream, while companies like Biomet and DePuy have been mere contenders. Richards could be a threat but any implant company run by ex-GE gnomes has no vision. In addition, Synthes Trauma would be a tremendous boost to the DePuy trauma portfolio, which is mediocre at best. Outside of the 2006 acquisition of Hand Innovations, DePuy has never been a "real" player in trauma, contrary to what their highly esteemed management team will tell you. Visionary is not a word that comes to mind, when one thinks of DePuy Trauma. If there ever was a time for Synthes to be sold, now would be the time. Why?
In due time, Hansjoerg will be an octogenarian. At this juncture in life, his days are consumed with the Wilderness Society, the Grand Canyon Trust, Rails to Trails, and the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance in addition to his 900 acre Halter Ranch, and other philanthropic ventures like his beloved Harvard University. Knowing Wyss, he would rather be hiking, cross country skiing, playing tennis or flying in his Lear Jet to his next exotic destination than listening to the non-sense that his lieutenants are up to. The biggest factor is that Hansjoerg has always been ahead of the curve and knows that the industry has changed, and that now may be the time to get out while the going is good. Yet, before he does, it behooves him to play the market to see whom else has the fire power to buy Synthes. For all we know, Wyss may be posturing to see if J&J is willing to up the ante. If J&J can entice Wyss, the company stands to increase immediate market share in trauma, spine, maxillofacial, and power tools. Many bloggers fail to realize that Synthes has a great presence in other global markets. This will only increase J&J's presence in other markets.
So in closing, many of our bloggers are compelled to talk about Zimmer buying NuVasive (Dvorak doesn't have the Boards backing), about NuVasive buying Trans1 (wishful thinking), and whether Lukianov wants to exit spine for the entertainment industry, but those are not the story. The question is whether Woody has a woody for expanding his kingdom and whether Wyss is ready to ride off into the horizon looking for more innovative and challenging things to do? You be the judge, As the great Lowell George once sang; "time loves a hero."