Abbott Laboratories said in a securities filing that the $2.4 billion hospital products company it plans to spin off in the first half of 2004 will borrow or assume about $750 million in debt. Abbott said it would retain the proceeds to pay down domestic commercial borrowings. The company previously announced that the spin-off, to be called Hospira, would be chaired by Humana co-founder David Jones. Abbott said the Internal Revenue Service has ruled that the spin-off qualifies as a tax-free distribution to shareholders. In the same securities filing, Abbott said it will take a $286 million charge this year for costs associated with acquiring TheraSense, which makes glucose monitoring systems, and I-STAT Corp., which makes blood analysis equipment. The $1.2 billion acquisition of TheraSense is expected to close in the second quarter. The $392 million purchase of I-STAT closed in January. -- by Cinda Becker
Abbott hospital products spin-off to come with debt
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