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Report: Smiths Group close to halting merger talks with ICU Medical

Smiths Group PLC is close to abandoning talks with ICU Medical Inc. regarding a potential merger, Sky News reported, citing a person close to the U.K.-based industrial conglomerate.

San Clemente, Calif.-based ICU Medical and Smiths have been engaged in early stage merger discussions since May.

The combination of ICU Medical, an infusion therapy and oncology company, with Smiths' medical device unit Smiths Medical Inc. could reach a value of £7 billion, and create a transatlantic healthcare giant, according to the report.

Smiths CEO Andy Reynolds Smith has yet to make a final decision, but the source said a change in the group's position would be announced immediately to the London Stock Exchange.

Further, the merger discussions prompted Baxter International Inc. to make a offer for Smiths Medical, Sky News reported, citing a banking source. It is not certain whether Baxter and Smiths are still in talks, or if the latter is talking to other potential buyers.