Abbott Laboratories to sell eye care business to Johnson & Johnson for $4.325 bn

Abbott Laboratories yesterday struck a deal to sell its eye care business to Johnson & Johnson (J&J) for $4.325 billion in cash in order to focus on cardiovascular devices and expand its diagnostics business.

"We've been actively and strategically shaping our portfolio, which has recently focused on developing leadership positions in cardiovascular devices and expanding diagnostics," said Miles White, chairman and CEO of Abbott.

"Our vision care business will be well-positioned for continued success and advancement with Johnson & Johnson, and I'd like to thank our employees for building a successful business," he added.

Abbott is selling Abbott Medical Optics (AMO), which includes ophthalmic products in three business segments: cataract surgery, laser refractive surgery and consumer eye health and had sales of $1.1 billion in 2015.

Abbott, based in Illinois, had entered the vision care segment following its 2009 acquisition of California-based  Advanced Medical Optics, a provider of laser-vision correction and cataract services as well as contact- lens products, for $2.8 billion (See: Abbott Laboratories acquires Advanced Medical Optics in $2.8 billion cash-and-debt deal).

Abbott later expaned its eye care busines by acquiring Visiogen Inc., a maker of artificial lenses used to treat patients with cataracts, for $400 million, and cataract surgery specialist OptiMedica Corp for $400 million, and others.

AMO is a leader in ophthalmic surgery and is known for world-class intraocular lenses used in cataract surgery. In addition to the cataract business, AMO has advanced laser vision (LASIK) technologies designed to correct near sightedness, far sightedness and astigmatism.

The acquisition also includes AMO's consumer eye health products – over-the-counter drops for dry eye, as well as multipurpose solutions and hydrogen peroxide cleaning systems for patients who wear contact lenses.

For J&J's vision care unit, which includes Acuvue brand contact lenses and generated revenue of $685 million in the second quarter, the deal would help expand its eye care portfolio and take a bigger share of the $68 billion global eye-health market.

J&J said that the purchase will allow it to enter it into the cataracts surgery market and also help its vision business.

''With the acquisition of Abbott Medical Optics' strong and differentiated surgical ophthalmic portfolio, coupled with our world-leading ACUVUE contact lens business, we will become a more broad-based leader in vision care.  Importantly, with this acquisition we will enter cataract surgery – one of the most commonly performed surgeries and the number one cause of preventable blindness.''