Medtronic to Sell External Defibrillator Biz for $487M

The medical device company's Washington-based Physio-Control unit has reportedly been plagued with quality issues since Medtronic bought it in 1998, but buyer Bain Capital, LLC, called it a "market leader" and said that it has exciting "growth prospects."

Fridley-based Medtronic said Thursday that it plans to sell its external defibrillator business to a Boston-based private investment firm in a $487 million cash deal.

Bain Capital, LLC, will purchase the business, which is called Physio-Control and is based in Redmond, Washington.

The business has about 1,000 employees worldwide. According to the Star Tribune, Physio-Control reported $425 million in fiscal 2010 sales, and it's been plagued with quality issues since Medtronic bought it in 1998; shipments of some products were reportedly suspended between January 2007 and February 2010.

Medtronic has reportedly wanted to spin off Physio-Control since 2006.

In May 2008, Medronic signed a consent decree with the Food and Drug Administration to address problems with quality systems at Physio-Control, the Star Tribune reported. Regulators found that the company hadn't corrected manufacturing problems and didn't properly investigate complaints related to a model of external defibrillator that's typically used in hospitals.

According to Medtronic, Physio-Control provides emergency medical response technology for use in the intervention and treatment of cardio-respiratory and other medical emergencies-and its products are used daily by emergency medical services and hospital care teams worldwide. Its primary product is the Lifepak line of external defibrillators.

“Physio-Control is an impressive market leader that has built an outstanding brand position and loyal customer base by providing high quality, mission-critical tools and superior service,” Bain Capital Managing Director Chris Gordon said in a statement. “We are extremely enthusiastic about the company's growth prospects . . .”

The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2012 and is subject to regulatory and customary closing conditions.

Medtronic-the world's largest medical device company-is among Minnesota's 10 largest public companies based on revenue, which totaled $15.9 billion in the most recently completed fiscal year.

To read the Star Tribune's full report, which includes analyst comments about the sale of Physio-Control, click here.