KOHLLS, N.C. — The medical equipment wholesaler of the Kohl’s chain of stores has closed a deal to acquire about $1.6 billion in medical equipment from Narelle Medical Equipment Co., its second-largest seller after Rite Aid Inc., its largest retailer.
Kohls medical equipment will be the largest wholesale acquisition in the chain’s history, and the biggest in North America, according to a person familiar with the matter who was not authorized to speak publicly.
Narelle’s medical equipment includes some of the world’s largest medical equipment manufacturers including Ciba-Geigy Corp., the maker of CT scanners, X-ray machines and other medical equipment.
Narelles sales, net income and revenue have declined steadily since it began trading in 2013, according a review of publicly available data by Bloomberg News.
Kohl has lost market share to its closest competitor in the last four years, the pharmacy benefit manager Anthem Inc., and its shares have plunged in the past two years.
The acquisition would be a rare example of Kohls buying large quantities of medical equipment directly from a medical device company.
That is typically reserved for large medical equipment purchases from other companies, such as hospitals and medical equipment makers, such and GE Healthcare Corp., which owns EMC Corp. With its current market cap of about $18 billion, Narelles medical equipment would be the second-biggest medical equipment deal in North American history, according the person familiar.
It would be larger than Rite Aid’s $3.9 billion acquisition of Nu-Med Systems Inc. from its rival, Rite Aid.
Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg had expected Kohl to make the deal before its March 31 close, the person said.
The deal will give Kohl greater access to the medical equipment business, as it expands its pharmacy benefit management services, the company said in a statement on Monday.
Kohl also would acquire Narellein’s medical device business, which it will control for the first time, said the person, who was familiar with plans.
It will retain the company’s headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya.
Shares of Narelens medical equipment unit closed up about 6.7 percent at $9.10.
The deal comes amid a broader resurgence of interest in the medical technology industry.
In September, the medical devices market lost 2.2 percent as a whole, according