Medtech giant Johnson & Johnson (J&J) made headlines late in 2011 when it announced its intention to purchase Synthes, a large orthopedic company. This acquisition was, however, brought under review by the EU's antitrust commission over concerns with how much of the orthopedics market J&J would control. In particular, the combination of DePuy (a J&J subsidiary)'s and Synthes market share in the trauma device market would allow J&J to control nearly half of a $3 billion US market, and nearly 40% of a $700 million European market.

But things moved ahead recently the EU approved J&J's $21.3 billion purchase of Synthes with the agreement that J&J would spin off DePuy's trauma device division to Biomet, another significant orthopedic device competitor. Because Biomet only controlled about 4% of the US trauma device market in 2011 and even less in Europe that year, the addition of DePuy's market share to its portfolio would not be unreasonable.

At this point only the US is still holding out on approving the acquisition; the EU, Japan, Canada, and China have given the acquisition the go-ahead. J&J has indicated that it expects the deal to be closed by the end of Q2 2012.

Prepare for some brand shuffling hopefully everyone can keep track of who's selling what!

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