Smiths Group in talks over £6bn deal to avoid activist pressures

Engineering giant Smiths Group is in talks to merge its healthcare arm in a £6bn transatlantic deal, according to reports.

The business has begun talks with companies including US-listed ICU Medical about a possible combination of their healthcare operations, Sky News reported today.

Smiths is seemingly hoping to fend off any activist interest, as other FTSE 100 companies such as Costa Coffee owner Whitbread and Barclays bank have been targeted in recent months.

Read more: Smiths slips as revenues miss targets

Smiths has a current market value of around £2bn. Its healthcare unit could be worth around £2bn, according to reports.

However revenue within the unit has been falling, and Smiths has been throwing its weight behind returning it to profitability.

The company is not in exclusive talks with ICU, and a deal will likely be some way off.

Read more: Smiths Group first half profit drops as oil rout bites

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