Guidant Corp. on Friday night accepted an increased $24.2 billion buyout offer from Johnson & Johnson, turning aside a larger bid of nearly $25 billion from Boston Scientific Corp. in favor of a deal that Guidant hopes could be concluded more quickly. The joint announcement of Guidant's acceptance of J&J's bid came about 24 hours after Boston Scientific increased its offer by about $330 million to $24.98 billion, and about three hours after passage of a deadline Boston Scientific had set for Guidant to respond. The boards of both J&J and Guidant have unanimously approved the new J&J offer, which Guidant shareholders will consider in a Jan. 31 vote, the companies said. The announcement left Boston Scientific facing the prospect of perhaps increasing its offer one more time -- possibly to a level that would leave it with an uncomfortable amount of debt. The company also could walk away, or press its case directly to Guidant's shareholders in hopes of reshaping the company's board to bring in members who embrace its bid. Phone calls seeking comment Friday night from spokespeople for Boston Scientific were not returned. -- by the Associated Press
Guidant accepts increased J&J offer
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