Shhh! Henley May Be Talking

Acquisition-hungry Henley International, a maker of specialty hospital products and physical therapy equipment, wants to go into the business of making orthopedic products. But it's keeping unusually quiet about talks going on to purchase at least one company in that business for about $80 million.

Henley is gun-shy because its stock tumbled in July when its bid to buy Kirschner Medical collapsed. That drove the stock from 17 in June to 11. It has since come back to 13, after Henley posted record second-quarter earnings. But some pros are buying because they sense that a deal is close.

This time the company isn't making any firm comments until it's sure the deal is set. All that Chairman and CEO Ken Davidson will say is that the company is "actively searching" for an acquisition in the orthopedics area and that any deal wouldn't dilute Henley's earnings. A company making orthopedic products would tie in neatly with Henley's physical-therapy unit, which makes physical-performance measurement systems and exercise equipment. The acquisition, says one money manager, could add 50 cents a share to 1993's net. Henley earned 57 cents last year on revenues of $45.3 million. One analyst expects 80 cents this year and $1 next year--excluding any boost from a deal.

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