Arbor Update

Ann Arbor Area Community News

Johnson and Johnson buys HealthMedia: Good news, bad news, or no news?

29. October 2008 • Chuck Warpehoski
Email this article

Yesterday the Ann Arbor News reported that Johnson and Johnson will buy the local company.

From the article, it sounds like the employees at HealthMedia are happy with the acquisition. HealthMedia will remain in town, and the connection to the global health company will help it expand.

For myself, though, the Pfizer departure leaves me a little nervous when local companies become local parts of global companies.

So what do you think: good news, bad news, or no new?



  1. Chuck –

    I think it’s good news for HealthMedia. It went through hard times in the end of the dot-com era, and to the extent that as an independent company it would be unusually exposed to the cyclical downturn in the web 2.0 world we are seeing, they’re almost certainly better off with a large company as an owner.

    I took as many notes as I could on the background of the HealthMedia deal – there’s not a lot of details about the transaction.


       —Edward Vielmetti    Oct. 29 '08 - 08:40PM    #
  2. I agree, the large company gives them more stability, probably more access to capital to grow, and a stronger backing to expand their market. So overall I tend to think it’s good news.

    Still, I do have that nagging worry that J&J won’t be as committed to keeping HealthMedia local as HealthMedia may be.


       —Chuck Warpehoski    Oct. 30 '08 - 02:29PM    #
  3. It’s good news. Units of large publishing companies have thrived in Ann Arbor for years. (Automobile, Car and Driver, Medstat, etc.)

    I hate this idea that keeping ownership local is somehow preferable to being owned by a larger entity. Big companies are the ones that have the cash to offer big salaries and strong benefits packages.

    Suppose every person in Ann Arbor was employed by a locally owned and managed company. Poof! the median salary would go down by 20%. So would house prices. So would benefits packages.

    (I don’t have the time to look it up, but I would suggest comparing average salaries & benefits for people working in businesses < 1000 vs. people working in businesses > 1,000).

    And much as we might like to think so, the University of Michigan is not locally owned.


       —Fred Zimmerman    Nov. 3 '08 - 04:50PM    #
  4. HMI being aquired by J&J is good since J&J are known to be rather steady in both earnings and aquisitions. To me, this sounds like a diversifying products move and offers J&J a means to enter a new niche market.


       —green_tacos    Nov. 3 '08 - 05:05PM    #