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FTC orders Boston Scientific to divest bead products to complete $4.2B BTG deal

Boston Scientific Corp. will divest two of its microscopic bead products at the behest of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission ahead of the medical device company's planned $4.2 billion acquisition of London's BTG PLC.

The FTC said the companies are the two largest suppliers of drug-eluting beads, which are used to treat certain liver cancers by blocking blood flow to the tumor and releasing chemotherapy at the site. Due to the companies' positions in the market, the merger would violate federal antitrust law without the divestiture, the FTC said.

Along with the drug-eluting beads, the FTC is also requiring Boston Scientific to divest its line of bland beads for a similar type of cancer procedure.

Marlborough, Mass.-based Boston Scientific has agreed to sell the product lines to fellow medical-device maker Varian Medical Systems Inc.

Boston Scientific's acquisition of BTG has been cleared in three countries as of Aug. 7, including the U.S., Spain and Austria. Completion is still subject to closing conditions with a hearing scheduled Aug. 15.

On Boston Scientific's July 24 second-quarter earnings call, CEO Michael Mahoney said the merger has taken "longer than we thought."