Medtronic expands again with purchase of 2 European companies

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Medtronic has spent more than half a billion dollars in the past two days completing deals to buy two companies in Europe.

On Tuesday, the Fridley-based medical device company announced it acquired Netherlands-based Sapiens Steering Brain Stimulation for $200 million.

Sapiens is a developer of "deep brain stimulation technologies," the press release announcing the deal says, and is working on a system that allows more precise stimulation of the brain. The company will continue developing that technology, eventually becoming the "global research and development center" for Medtronic's Neuromodulation business.

"This acquisition broadens our neuroscience leadership position with innovative brain modulation technology that ... may one day transform the way physicians are able to treat patients with neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson's disease and essential tremor," said Lothar Krinke, Ph.D., vice president and general manager of the Brain Modulation business at Medtronic.

A day later, Medtronic wrote another hefty check to purchase the Italian company NGC Medical S.p.A., the company announced Wednesday. Medtronic previously held a 30 percent stake in the company, and the purchase agreement values the company at $350 million.

NGC manages operating rooms, intensive care units and cardiovascular suites at nearly 30 hospitals across Italy, and is currently expanding its service throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa, the release says. Medtronic's purchase adds what they call an "established hospital managed services" to the company's portfolio.

The Star Tribune says the move shows Medtronic wants to start offering care to patients directly.

Still in limbo is Medtronic's proposed $42.9 billion deal to buy Dublin-based Covidien. The purchase would shift Medtronic's legal headquarters to Ireland despite operations staying in the U.S., allowing the company to pay Ireland's corporate tax rate of 12.5 percent, rather than the United States' rate of 35 percent. Such moves – known as a tax inversion – have recently caught the attention of Congress and the president.

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