Bayer has announced plans to acquire the USA’s Possis Medical in a $361 million deal that it will boost its presence in cardiovascular diagnostics.

The acquisition will see Bayer’s Medrad medical devices affiliate offer $19.50 per share in cash to take control of Possis, whose board has approved the deal and recommended the offer to shareholders. This represents a premium of 39% over the Minneapolis-based firm’s average closing price for the 30 days prior to February 8.

Possis, which posted revenues of $67 million for its fiscal year ended July 31, 2007, has around 280 employees. It specialises in mechanical thrombectomy devices used to treat narrowed or blocked arteries and veins. This makes it a good strategic fit for Medrad which focuses on contrast injection systems to diagnose cardiovascular and other diseases.

The merger “will capitalise on both companies’ strengths to deliver growth in our current markets and create a formidable cardiovascular portfolio in the future,” said John Friel, chief executive of Medrad, which posted 2006 revenues of $478 million.