The Justice Department is investigating whether acquisitions by Medtronic PLC limited competition in ventilator manufacturing, according to people familiar with the matter, an antitrust probe that emerged from complaints about device shortages during the coronavirus pandemic.
Medtronic has received a civil subpoena from the Justice Department formally requesting more information, the people said.
The probe is centered on two related acquisitions that date to 2012, when Covidien PLC, a device maker that sold ventilators, bought Newport Medical Instruments, a small California-based manufacturer of ventilator systems, for $108 million.
Newport had secured a contract with the federal government in 2010 to develop and supply low-cost ventilators, but the project stalled after Covidien bought Newport, and the two sides eventually agreed to end the contract before any ventilators were delivered.
Nearly three years after Covidien bought Newport, Medtronic bought Covidien in a roughly $50 billion deal, inheriting Newport in the process. Both deals received antitrust clearance from the Federal Trade Commission.