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Hill-Rom stock swoons after $400M acquisition

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Medical equipment and hospital bed maker Hill-Rom Holdings Inc. on Wednesday said it has acquired Aspen Surgical Products, a privately held maker of surgical supplies, for $400 million.

Investors reacted negatively to the announcement Thursday morning, sending Hill-Rom shares down 19 percent, or $6.07, to $25.45 each.

Batesville-based Hill-Rom said the acquisition will expand its line of surgical products and broaden its reach in the North American and European surgical markets.

Aspen Surgical, based in Caledonia, Mich., sells scalpels, blades, specialty needles, wound care dressings and other disposable equipment used in operating rooms. Aspen Surgical has annual revenue of about $120 million.

With the acquisition's completion, Greg Pritchard, formerly CEO of Aspen Surgical, was named senior vice president and president of surgical and respiratory Care at Hill-Rom.

Hill-Rom said the transaction is expected to add about 2 cents per share to its fiscal 2012 earnings. That forecast excludes non-recurring purchase accounting items and other acquisition- and integration-related costs.

The acquisition was funded with cash and bank debt.

The deal was announced after shares of Hill-Rom rose 29 cents to close at $31.52. The stock was unchanged in after-hours trading.

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