Growing pains in the Medtronic-Kyphon merger

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When Medtronic Inc. announced in July 2007 that it was buying a competitor called Kyphon Inc. for $4.2 billion, executives described the deal as a coming-together of complementary technologies for spine surgery to help more patients with crippling back pain.

On paper, the merger of a fast-growing and entrepreneurial firm with a muscular market leader seemed to make solid business sense.

But the potential rewards of the deal — one of the biggest in Medtronic’s history — have yet to be fully realized for the Fridley-based medical technology giant. As Medtronic CEO Bill Hawkins said in a February conference call with Wall Street analysts: “Kyphon, very candidly, has been a bit of a disappointment for us.”

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