Sudden Stryker Flights Indicate Possible Boston Scientific Acquisition

On June 11, 2018, the Wall Street Journal reported that Stryker Corp. (SYK) had approached Boston Scientific (BSX) about a possible acquisition. Stryker is a medical technology company based in Kalamazoo, MI, and Boston Scientific is a medical device manufacturer headquartered in Marlborough, MA.

The acquisition would create a medical-device behemoth and represent one of the largest transactions of 2018, not just in the healthcare sector, but also across all industries. On news of the possible acquisition, Boston Scientific’s stock jumped 7.4%.

The concept of a Boston Scientific takeover would come as no surprise to anyone who closely follows medical device companies. In 2017, Becton Dickinson bought C.R. Bard for $24 billion. In 2015, Medtronic acquired Covidien for almost $50 billion.

In fact, Medtronic (MDT) would be another logical buyer of Boston Scientific, along with Johnson & Johnson (JNJ). An analyst using JetTrack would have additional information in tracking a potential acquisition — and identifying the most likely suitor.


Stryker’s Corporate Flights

JetTrack makes it possible to follow corporate flight activity by a wide range of publicly traded companies — Stryker included.

A look at the Stryker on JetTrack indicates that Stryker’s aircrafts never flew within 25 miles of Boston Scientific’s headquarters between November 8, 2017 and March 5, 2018. But then, starting on March 5, something changed. Stryker’s corporate aircraft stopped near Boston Scientific’s Marlborough headquarters 4 times in a short period (including twice by the CEO’s plane):

For reference, Boston Scientific’s headquarters in Marlborough are about 30 miles due west of Boston itself. Bedford is just northeast of Marlborough, and Norwood is just southeast of Marlborough.

How is this information relevant? JetTrack is useful in identifying when certain corporate aircraft visit specific destinations, but it’s perhaps most useful in showing how rarely those aircraft visit those specific destinations.

If Stryker aircraft had been visiting the Boston area on a regular basis, it would be hard to glean insights from these recent flights. But there’s incredibly helpful (and perhaps actionable) information to be gained through the sudden change in frequency of flights to the Boston area during a time when mergers and acquisitions in the medical device space might be expected.


Johnson & Johnson Corporate Flights

As mentioned, Stryker isn’t Boston Scientific’s only possible buyer, which is why it’s important to compare flight information from other suitors. Like Stryker, Johnson & Johnson hadn’t sent any of its aircraft to within 25 of miles Boston Scientific’s headquarters in some time — since April 26, 2017. Then things changed.

Johnson & Johnson aircraft visited the Boston area twice in the first half of 2018, including a trip on the exact same date as Stryker’s first 2018 visit to the Boston area — March 5. Here’s a look at Johnson & Johnson’s 2 trips to destinations near Boston Scientific headquarters:

Again, it’s always interesting when companies start visiting specific destinations regularly after long periods with no visits to that same destination.


How JetTrack Provides a Competitive Advantage

Analysts have an array of methods for finding signals and anticipating M&A deals. JetTrack offers a tool for finding unusual flight behavior and/or confirming existing signals by looking at executive travel. That is, when others are still trying to sort through readily available information like news stories and earnings calls, JetTrack can provide a competitive advantage that allows investors to move early and confidently.

The payoff could be immense, too. Boston Scientific’s market value is close to $50 billion, and an acquisition by Stryker would create a company that achieves more than $20 billion in annual sales. With JetTrack as a key research tool, investors would be able to know of a potential acquisition before others, putting them in position to achieve an enviable return by leveraging flight information.

Interested in taking a closer look at JetTrack? Contact us today to learn more