11/26/2012 9:03:14 AM
Baxter International Inc. (BAX), the U.S. maker of blood products and intravenous drugs, is near an accord to buy Swedish kidney-dialysis competitor Gambro AB for about $4 billion, according to a person familiar with the talks. An agreement may be signed in one or two weeks as the two parties discuss final terms, said the person, who asked not to be identified because talks are private. Baxter, which has been negotiating with Gambro for almost a year after weighing a bid for years, would be able to cut costs in areas such as research and development at the combined company, the person said. The combination would help Deerfield, Illinois-based Baxter expand its dialysis-equipment business, whose machines can be used in home treatment. Gambro, which is jointly controlled by Sweden’s EQT Partners AB and Investor AB (INVEA), sells its equipment largely to hospitals and clinics. Baxter gained 4.1 percent to $68.81 at the close of trading in New York yesterday, its biggest single-day gain in a year and highest price since September 2008, after the Wall Street Journal originally reported the talks. Investor AB (INVEB)’s policy “is not to comment on rumors,” Magnus Dalhammar, a spokesman for the company, said in a phone interview today. Investor owns 49 percent of Gambro.