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Med-tech vet leads deal for French firm

Stacy Campbell-Kraft

Med-tech vet leads deal for French firm

Jul 19, 2006 – Doug Kohrs says he will relocate orthopedic device maker Tornier to Minneapolis. It’s already a $100 million company.

Neal St. Anthony, Star Tribune

A veteran finance-and-management crew in the local medical device industry is teaming once again, this time to buy a French-based orthopedic device company that the incoming CEO says will be based in Minnesota and could one day become a public company.

Doug Kohrs, 48, a veteran executive backed by longtime equity partners from New York and Minneapolis, has become chief executive of Tornier of Grenoble, France, after this week’s acquisition. Kohrs succeeds Alain Tornier, who headed the company that makes replacements for hips, shoulders, ankles and knees. The company was founded in 1942 by Tornier’s father.

Terms weren’t disclosed.

Tornier competes against Johnson & Johnson, Stryker and Smith & Nephew, among others. “Everyone at Tornier should receive the news positively, because they’ll realize there are deep pockets behind this company now … to make Tornier a world-class and growing competitor,” Kohrs said Tuesday before departing to visit customers and some of Tornier’s 400 employees in the United States and Europe. “We plan to move quickly, and we believe the foot, ankle and shoulder markets are underserved by larger companies,” he added.

“The global headquarters will be in Minneapolis, and we plan on recruiting a global management team to help grow the business. This is the first business we’ve acquired, a $100 million-revenue business in 2006. We expect to add other companies to the portfolio.”

Kohrs is backed, once again, by the New York venture capital firms Warburg Pincus and the Vertical Group, as well as Eden Prairie-based Split Rock Partners, part of the former St. Paul Venture Capital.

Kohrs, who retired from American Medical Systems in 2005, spent the past several months at Split Rock, collaborating on this deal with Dave Stassen. Kohrs recruited Stassen to assist with the turnaround of Minnesota-based Spine-Tech in 1991, which was sold to Sulzer Medical of Switzerland. Stassen also was a board member of American Medical when the firm recruited Kohrs in 1999 to run the company.

Spine-Tech and American Medical proved to be huge winners for long-term investors, including Warburg Pincus.

Neal St. Anthony * 612-673-7144

2006 Star Tribune. All rights reserved.