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Medtronic under Justice Department probe over ventilator competition: WSJ

(This September 30 story corrects paragraph 4 to say probe is only on Covidien-Newport deal)

(Reuters) - The U.S. Justice Department is investigating if acquisitions by medical device maker Medtronic Plc MDT.N hindered competition in ventilator manufacturing, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday, citing people familiar with the matter.

Demand for ventilators sky-rocketed following the coronavirus outbreak in the United States, leading President Donald Trump to sign an order for General Motors GM.N to start making ventilators.

Medtronic has received a civil subpoena from the department requesting more information, according to the report. (on.wsj.com/2GkYjMC)

The probe focuses on an acquisition when Covidien Plc bought a small manufacturer of ventilator systems Newport Medical Instruments in 2012, the report said. Covidien was bought by Medtronic in 2015.

“Medtronic is cooperating fully with DOJ’s review of the 2012 Covidien-Newport transaction,” said Medtronic spokesperson Ben Petok, adding that the deal was appropriately assessed and approved by the Federal Trade Commission in 2012.

Petok said rather than discontinue the Newport family of ventilators, Medtronic continues to market them.

Medtronic has ramped up production of ventilators and partnered reut.rs/2GgTuE6 with Foxconn in June to increase production of ventilators critical in the care of COVID-19 patients.

Petok also highlighted competitiveness in the ventilator market, with at least 10 major players in which the top five account for about 50% market share.

Shares of Medtronic was marginally down at $102.85 in extended trade.

Reporting by Trisha Roy in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila

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