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Kirschner Medical Corp., opts to tie knot with Biomet Inc.


Kirschner Medical Corp., a Timonium-based maker of reconstructive joints and surgical supplies, picked a suitor yesterday, ending two months of on-again, off-again courtship by Midwestern companies.

The winner is Biomet Inc., which early yesterday increased its offer to merge Kirschner with one of its wholly owned subsidiaries after a competitor reentered the battle.

Facing a new deadline from its original suitor, Kirschner's directors voted yesterday to accept the offer of $35.2 million in stock from Biomet, a Warsaw, Ind., maker of orthopedic medical products.

It would give Kirschner shareholders 1.05 Biomet common shares for each of their Kirschner common shares. The arrange

ment does not include cash.

Company executives did not return calls for comment yesterday. Both suitors, Biomet and Orthomet Inc. of Minneapolis, called their proposals superior.

Speaking before the deadline expired, James Hawley, chief financial officer of Orthomet, said a comparison of the two offers came down to "how you value the warrants," adding that there are five or six accepted methods to calculate them.

"It becomes very subjective," he said.

Kirschner employs 550 workers, including 80 in Maryland. It had sales last year of $67 million and profits of $2.3 million. Biomet reported sales of $335 million and a $64 million profit.

In trading before the deal was announced yesterday, Kirschner stock closed at $9.312 a share, up 18.7 cents. Biomet closed at $9.75, down 12.5 cents.

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