updated 12/1/2008 9:13:28 AM ET 2008-12-01T14:13:28

Health care products company Johnson & Johnson said Monday it will buy cosmetic-product and breast-implant maker Mentor Corp. for $1.07 billion in a move to boost its presence in cosmetic and reconstructive medicine.

Under the deal, J&J will start a cash tender offer for $31 per share in a move to add breast implants and other products to its Ethicon surgical products unit. The offer is nearly double Mentor’s closing price of $16.15 on Friday.

“The addition of Mentor, a market-leader and one of the most respected companies in the aesthetic space, expands our capacity to provide physicians with products that can restore patients’ appearance, self-esteem and quality of life,” said Alex Gorsky, company group chairman at J&J with responsibility for the Ethicon unit.

The deal is expected to shave between 3 and 5 cents per share off of J&J’s 2009 earnings. Both companies boards of directors have approved the deal, which is expected to close during the first quarter.

Mentor’s key competitor in the breast implant market is Allergan Inc., and Mentor is hoping to cut into the wrinkle treatment market as well. It is developing the anti-wrinkle injection PurTox, which would compete with Irvine, Calif.-based Allergan’s Botox.

The Mentor deal is the second buyout in as many weeks for J&J, as most sectors tighten their belts while the economy slips deeper into what is almost certainly a recession.

On Nov. 24, J&J bought biotech company Omrix Biopharmaceuticals Inc. for $438 million in a move to expand its surgical product unit. The deal, which is expected to close at the end of December, will add Evithrom and Evicel, products used to control bleeding during surgical procedures.

Overall, portions of the health care sector with cash-heavy balance sheets, such as big drugmakers, have been more open to acquisitions during the economic downturn. On Nov. 24, Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly & Co. closed its $6 billion buyout of New York-based cancer drug maker ImClone Systems Inc.

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