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Once the very model of stability among orthopedics companies, Biomet went through a rocky period a while ago as its stock price tanked and its long time CEO left the company. To the rescue has come a group of private equity investors who will take the company private when the transaction closes later this year. Biomet officials insist the company's turnaround will be based on the same success factors that made the company successful in the past: product innovation, strong distributor relationships, and close customer ties. But the question is: what changes, if any, will Biomet's new owners bring?
Despite significant growth over the past several years, Encore Medical found it difficult to win over investors. So it has turned to private equity firm Blackstone Group to take it private, hoping that greater financial freedom will enable it to continue its aggressive growth.
Often overlooked in all the interest in orthopedics is the non-surgical side, a product area that includes a wide range of supports and braces--soft goods as opposed to hard implants--used to treat a number of musculoskeletal problems. Indeed, given that non-surgical approaches represent an important front line in treatment options for patients with such problems-in spine, for example, surgical interventions are used in barely more than 10% of all patients complaining of back pain-it's surprising that more attention isn't paid to this segment. One company that has made the non-surgical orthopedics market a focus is dj Orthopedics Inc. who, with its acquisition of Aircast Inc. further enhances what is already a number-one market share position in the $1.2 billion US rehabilitation products market.
Guess who was the fastest growing orthopedic implant company last year. Smith & Nephew. The boom that has characterized the orthopedics market for the past several years has been a rising tide that lifts all boats--all, that is, except Smith & Nephew. But in the last couple of years, Smith & Nephew has actually been growing faster than their larger competitors. And in an industry that will increasingly see winners and losers, Smith & Nephew believes it is positioned to be one of the winners.