Cardiac Science Says Acquisition Delayed

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Irvine defibrillator maker Cardiac Science Inc. said Thursday that reviews by federal regulators have again delayed its plans to acquire a Swedish maker of patient monitors and defibrillators.

Cardiac's chief executive, Raymond W. Cohen, would not elaborate on the review process in its pending tender offer to shareholders of Artema Medical AB. Cardiac extended the time for shareholders to tender their shares from Monday to June 18.

Cohen said his company has financing committed to acquire Artema for $20 million in stock and to complete a pending $71-million cash-and-stock purchase of Survivalink Corp. in Minneapolis, the nation's third-largest manufacturer of portable defibrillators.

He blamed the snag in closing the Artema deal--a second delay in that transaction--on red tape at the Securities and Exchange Commission.

But analyst Dan Owczarski at Gruntal & Co. in Chicago said he fears Cardiac might lack the financial resources to complete the deals, especially the purchase of Survivalink, which is four times the size of Cardiac Science.

"This is not an easy market to raise money in," he said.

Cardiac Science's auditor, PriceWaterhouseCoopers LLP, raised doubts in late February about the company's ability to survive as a going concern. Cardiac, according to an April regulatory filing, only has enough cash to last until September.

The 10-year-old company has never made a profit and has racked up nearly $40 million in losses over the past two years. And its cash on hand fell 45% to $7.5 million during the first three months this year, according to its quarterly financial report filed with the SEC.

Cardiac said the tender offer for Artema shares could be extended longer.

Cardiac's stock lost 7 cents Thursday to close at $2.88 a share on Nasdaq. The stock is more than 70% off its 52-week high of $10 a share on Sept. 14.

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