Buyout frenzy hits Indiana firms:

Keywords Health Care

The year closed with two multibilliondollar buyouts of Indiana public companies-Carmel-based Adesa Inc. and Warsaw-based Biomet Inc. It was a fitting way to wrap up what was a record year for U.S. buyouts, many of them launched by deep-pocketed private equity firms.

Adesa, an operator of auto auctions, announced Dec. 22 that it will be sold to a group of private-equity investors, including New York-based Goldman Sachs Group Inc., for $3.7 billion.

Four days earlier, Biomet, a maker of orthopedic implants, announced it would be acquired by a consortium of private equity investors for $10.9 billion.

An Indiana company was on the buying end of the other 2006 buyout that topped $1 billion. Locally based Eli Lilly and
Co. said in late fall that it will pay $2.1 billion to buy Seattle-based Icos Corp., its joint-venture partner on the popular erectile dysfunction drug Cialis.

The flurry of Indiana activity matched what was happening nationwide. In total, U.S. firms in 2006 announced $717 billion in takeover deals, nearly triple the total for 2005, according to Bloomberg.

In December, publicly traded Windrose Medical Properties Trust, which owns 92 medical properties in 13 states, was acquired by Toledo, Ohio-based Health Care REIT for $451 million.

In February, earplug and protective gear-maker Aearo Technologies Inc. was sold to British private equity firm Permira for $765 million. The seller, New Yorkbased Bear Stearns, had bought Aearo for
$381 million just two years earlier.

Indiana saw a blizzard of smaller deals, too. For example, Florida-based Sun Capital Partners Inc. bought Fishers-based Marsh Supermarkets Inc. for $88 million, and Bowling Green, Ohio-based Sky Financial Group purchased the parent of locally based Union Federal Savings Bank for $121 million-only to be bought out for $3.6 billion by Ohio-based Huntington Bank.

Early in the year, Massachusetts-based Hologic Inc. bought local medical devicemaker Suros Surgical Systems Inc. for $240 million, and St. Louis-based TALX Corp. scooped up Carmel-based Internet testing firm Performance Assessment Network for $75 million.

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