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CHICAGO (Reuters) - Abbott Laboratories Inc.'s pivotal role in Boston Scientific Corp.'s $80-per-share offer to buy Guidant Corp. signals its determination to be a player in medical devices, regardless of how the bidding match ends, analysts said on Wednesday.

While many Wall Street analysts say Boston Scientific now has the upper hand over Johnson & Johnson with its current bid for Guidant, some believe Abbott's participation -- providing some of the funding for the bid -- suggests Abbott could move in to buy Boston Scientific if it ultimately loses.

"Underneath the covers I believe that Abbott wants to be a device player and for the first time they are making a real legitimate stand to become one. If Boston doesn't get Guidant, at this valuation, I think Abbott ultimately buys Boston," said Jeffries & Co. analyst Ryan Rauch.

http://tinyurl.com/b7p5r

MW
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