Abbott to buy Alere for $5.8bn to augment its point-of-care diagnostics business

Healthcare major Abbott has agreed to buy US medical diagnostics specialist Alere for $5.8 billion (£4 billion), taking control of Alere’s $2.6 billion in debt. The deal strengthens Abbott’s position in point-of-care diagnostics – tests designed to be run in hospitals, doctors’ surgeries or even at home – to support increasingly targeted treatments.

The move is part of a consolidation trend in the medical devices and diagnostics area. Several large suppliers have merged in recent years, including Becton Dickinson with CareFusion and Medtronic with Covidien. More diversified companies such as Baxter and Johnson and Johnson have also split off devices divisions from pharmaceuticals, or cut jobs as technologies mature and the industry becomes more focused.