Guidant Corp., Indianapolis, reached a revised merger agreement with Johnson & Johnson, New Brunswick, N.J., with a higher price tag, $23.2 billion instead of $21.5 billion, and a higher penalty for terminating the deal, $675 million instead of $625 million. Boston Scientific Corp., Natick, Mass., said its $25 billion offer for Guidant was superior and its discussions with the company were continuing. At deadline, Guidant had not issued a statement on the status of its talks with Boston Scientific or returned calls for comment. In a regulatory filing, Guidant said a merger with J&J likely would close sooner than one with Boston Scientific because the J&J deal already has won federal antitrust clearance. A merger with Boston Scientific might entail paying the termination fee to J&J. The boards of J&J and Guidant approved the revised agreement, and Guidant shareholders are scheduled to vote Jan. 31. The agreement is the third in J&J's more than yearlong pursuit of Guidant. J&J initially offered $25.4 billion in December 2004 but lowered its price after Guidant recalled several products. -- by Joseph Mantone
J&J ups bid for Guidant, Boston Scientific still trying
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