Philips possibly targets Varian, Elekta for acquisition

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Unlike Siemens and General Electric four-year acquisition spree, Philips Electronics’ restraint has left it debt-free and with $28.26 billion available for acquisitions, buybacks and dividends over the next three years, according to the Bloomberg News.

GE, Siemens and private equity firms have slowed their purchases, giving Gerard Kleisterlee, chief executive of Philips, an opening to pursue companies whose prices have dropped. 

Philips's possible targets include the medical equipment makers Varian Medical Systems and Elekta, both of whose shares had fallen at least 10 percent this year, Janardan Menon, a Dresdner Kleinwort analyst in London, told Bloomberg News.

Philips, Siemens and GE have increased their focus on medical equipment, spurred by demand from aging populations for diagnosis and treatment of conditions, such as cardiac arrest and cancer.

Siemens, with $26.57 million in debt, has said it does not plan any large acquisitions after Dade Behring, according to Bloomberg News.

Buyout companies have struggled recently to arrange financing for takeovers, leading to an 80 percent drop in deals, to $20 billion globally in August, according to data compiled by Bloomberg News.