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Johnson & Johnson will buy Auris Health for $ 3.4 billion

Johnson & Johnson said on Wednesday it would buy Auris Health robotic surgery firm for $ 3.4 billion in cash.

"In this new era of health care, our goal is to simplify surgery, increase efficiency, reduce complications and improve outcomes for patients and, ultimately, make surgery safer," said Ashley McEvoy. , president of the group of medical devices for consumers, in a press release. . "Together, these technologies, along with our market-leading medical solutions and implants, create the foundation of a comprehensive digital ecosystem to help surgeons and patients before, during and after surgery."

The company is divided into three main business units: pharmaceuticals, medical devices and consumer products. J & J's medical device business has lagged, with sales falling 4 percent to $ 6.67 billion in the fourth quarter of 2018. The healthcare company committed to improving performance through acquisitions and divestments.

Last year, J & J gave up its LifeScan blood glucose monitors business after leaving the insulin pump market.

Bloomberg reported last month that J & J was pursuing an acquisition of Auris Health, a private developer of robotic technologies. J & J said Wednesday that it is creating a "connected digital ecosystem" that uses data and robotic technology to guide the surgeon through procedures and improve patient treatment.

J & J general manager Alex Gorsky said in a fourth-quarter earnings visit last month that investors would see "continuing news about our robotics platform in the course of 2020 and beyond."

"What we want to ensure is that we leave in a timely manner," he said, "but that we also do it in a way that guarantees that we are competitive and that, ultimately, we ensure that we are making a major difference in this area as we move forward." .

The transaction is expected to close at the end of the second quarter of 2019.

J & J's stock rose slightly in pre-market trading on Wednesday. The stock has risen almost 4 percent since the beginning of this year. The shares are more than 2 percent higher in the last 12 months.

– CNBC & # 39; s
Angelica lavito
Contributed to this report.

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