Contact Lenses Manufacturer Eyes Bausch & Lomb

On the heels of the May 16 announcement that eye products manufacturer Bausch & Lomb had agreed to be bought by private equity firm Warburg Pincus for $3.67 billion in cash comes news that another potential buyer is interested in the company--this time a competitor. Advanced Medical Optics Inc., a Santa Ana, Calif.-based manufacturer of contact lenses and cleaner as well as other medical devices for the eye, is now exploring a bid, which, if offered, could set up a buyout contest with Warburg.

"We believe it is only logical to explore this opportunity given the highly complementary nature of our two businesses," Advanced Medical said yesterday in a statement, adding that it wants to offer a full range of vision-care products for people of all ages. In April, the company acquired IntraLase Corp. of Irvine, Calif., which added a laser device used in vision-correction procedures to its holdings.

Warburg stands to get a $40 million breakup fee if Bausch & Lomb accepts another offer, according to their agreement nine days ago.

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