Fujifilm Acquires U.S. Ultrasound Maker Sonosite

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Japanese-based Fujifilm Holdings announced an agreement this week to buy SonoSite Inc, a U.S.-based maker of ultrasound and cardiograph equipment, for nearly $1 billion

The boards of directors of both companies are said to have endorsed the deal, which still awaits shareholder approval. Shares of Sonosite on the NASDAQ shot up 27% with the news on Thursday, while Fujifilm stock on the Tokyo exchange dropped slightly.

Naohiro Fujitani, president and CEO of FUJIFILM Medical USA, tells imagingBiz.com that the acquisition puts Fuji in position to expand its line of business into the “point-of-care” market with devices that are compact or available immediately in settings such as emergency rooms or a doctor’s office.

Sonosite currently controls about 40 percent of the worldwide ultrasound market, which represents a $6 billion industry. Point-of-care devices account for around $600 million of that.

“The growth ratio is very much different,” Fujitani says. “Ultrasound is still at 3% to 5% growth. Part of that, point-of-care, grows at 10% to 15% worldwide. That’s why we are shifting to this point-of-care market for ultrasound.”

Fuji plans to incorporate Sonosite’s ultrasound products with its Fazone CB, a digital display unit that works with ultrasound devices. The recent purchase marks an expansion for the company as it broadens its health care business beyond digital x-ray and health care IT.

Upon completion of the merger, Sonosite will continue operations in Bothell, Washington.

To read a press release about the deal click here.

For more on Fujifilm Medical click here.