SMITH & NEPHEW SPILLS: No Merger Talks Happening

Smith & Nephew has released a statement to the London Stock Exchange denying it is involved in any takeover or merger talks.

The announcement comes after a week of bid speculation about the medical device maker that has raised questions over when companies should be forced to reveal an approach to the market.

The statement reads: ‘Smith & Nephew notes the continued press speculation in relation to a possible merger or takeover involving the company.

‘Smith & Nephew has a long-standing policy of not commenting on press speculation, unless there is a regulatory obligation to do so.  However, exceptionally, Smith & Nephew wishes to clarify that it is not engaged in any discussions which could lead to a merger or a takeover involving the company.’

Today’s statement follows a story in the Daily Telegraph claiming that Smith & Nephew is set to begin informal discussions with US rival Biomet about a possible merger. Smith & Nephew shares are up 3.5 per cent today in London.

Smith & Nephew’s decision to make a statement signals a change of approach for the company, which has previously been reluctant to comment on bid speculation.

Earlier this week, Smith & Nephew refused to comment on a Sky News story, published last Saturday, which claimed it had been targeted by Johnson & Johnson with a £7 bn ($11 bn) bid late last year.

It remained silent despite the fact the company’s shares rose over 10 per cent on the following Monday, leading to the concern a false market could emerge in Smith & Nephew’s shares.

Under UK takeover rules, companies are required to make a statement confirming bid talks if, after an approach is made, there is an ‘untoward’ movement in the company’s share price.

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