USA – Stryker has announced a US$3 billion merger with Vocera Communications, a developer of clinical communication and workflow technologies.

According to company officials, the maker of medical and surgical products will pay US$79.25 per share for Vocera, for a total equity value of US$2.97 billion and a total enterprise value of approximately $3.09 billion, including convertible notes.

Stryker’s purchase in early 2022 extends the company’s medtech spending spree from last year. While companies like Boston Scientific and Hologic made multiple acquisitions, Stryker was less active.

The orthopedic device manufacturer announced in January 2021 that it would acquire OrthoSensor for an undisclosed sum. In September, Stryker completed its acquisition of Gauss Surgical.

Despite the recent small deals, the company has hinted that larger deals are on the way. Stryker CEO Kevin Lobo stated during the company’s third-quarter earnings call in October that the company would be looking to do more deals as debt was paid down and cash was built up over the previous year.

Stryker officials say they’re interested in Vocera’s “highly complementary and innovative portfolio” of tools to help connect caregivers of tools and ” disparate data-generating medical devices,” with the goal of improving patient safety and outcomes and provider workflows.

Vocera’s software and hardware for remote communication, in particular, will complement Stryker’s Advanced Digital Healthcare tools, according to the company, and will help its customers reduce and prevent adverse events across the care continuum.

Stryker and Vocera’s boards of directors unanimously approved the acquisition, which is expected to close in the first quarter of 2022, subject to regulatory approval.

Only a week into the new year, this is the first multibillion-dollar health IT acquisition of 2022 – following a busy 2021 that saw significant M&A activity.

“Vocera will help Stryker significantly accelerate our digital aspirations to improve the lives of caregivers and patients,” Kevin Lobo, chair and CEO of Stryker, said in a statement announcing the acquisition.

Vocera Chairman and CEO Brent Lang called the deal “an exciting opportunity for Vocera, given the clear alignment of mission, goals and culture between our two organizations and our ability to drive even greater economic and clinical value for our customers.”

According to the company, Vocera’s products are currently used in over 2,300 healthcare facilities, including nearly 1,900 hospitals. Customers of Vocera include high-end hotels, schools, libraries, and retail outlets.

The Vocera acquisition may be the start of a trend of companies expanding beyond their traditional industries and acquiring companies focused on digital healthcare systems or data.

In December, Oracle paid US$28.3 billion for Cerner, an electronic health records company. Castlight Health’s merger with Vera Whole Health and Aetion’s acquisition of Replica Analytics are two other deals announced this year.

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