It's been a rough go lately for Boston Scientific (NYSE:BSX), the medical device maker whose stock has fallen more than 9% over the last month. The company's most recent quarterly report offered up a big batch of weakness, with revenues missing expectations and declining year-over-year. Given that sort of bad news surrounding this company, you might think that now would be the absolute worst time to make a splash with an acquisition. As it turns out, Boston Scientific's latest purchase might be just what the doctor ordered.
The latest in hypertension
Boston Scientific is no stranger to acquisitions; the company has purchased 15 companies in the last five years. Not everything has gone exactly as planned -- Boston Scientific's top-selling businesses of interventional cardiology and cardiac rhythm management (CRM) have declined while other, smaller divisions have yet to make up the lost revenues.
On Wednesday, however, Boston Scientific purchased hypertension device maker Vessix Vascular for up to $425 million. Out of that sum, $125 million will come up front, while the remaining possibility of $300 million more in milestone payments could add up through 2017.
Why's this important?
The Vessix acquisition gives Boston Scientific a quick route into the hypertension market with the V2 Renal Denervation System. This device for hard-to-treat hypertension has already been approved in Australia and Europe, and with the global market for hypertension expected to exceed $2 billion by 2020, it is vitally important for Boston Scientific to get a foot in the door of this fast-growing industry.
Rivals Medtronic (NYSE:MDT), St. Jude Medical (NYSE:STJ), and Covidien (NYSE:COV.DL) have already received approvals for similar devices in Europe, with Medtronic being the leader in development so far. Medtronic is also the leading candidate for the first device to be approved in the United States, with optimistic projections of receiving an approval from the Food and Drug Administration by 2014. Boston Scientific won't be able to market a competitor that fast, as it hopes to begin a trial for approval in late 2013 or early 2014.
Still, with the American market barren, Boston Scientific faces an opportunity to carve out a profitable niche in this fast-growing industry. The company's global president for renal intervention, Jeff Mirvis, optimistically noted, "[The acquisition] gives us a device where we can compete for leadership virtually right away."
If the Vessix move pays off, Boston Scientific could find an answer to its lagging sales as of late. While the company has launched products recently to shore up its two sales-leading divisions, it's in serious need of new opportunities to cement its future. The renal hypertension market is already a competitive field, but if Boston Scientific can land a share of the market's lofty estimates, the $425 million purchase will be worth every penny.