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GE, Abbott call off $8.13b unit sale

General Electric Co., the world's biggest maker of medical-imaging machines, and Abbott Laboratories broke off an agreement for GE to buy some of Abbott's diagnostics units for $8.13 billion.

The decision was mutual to end the agreement, which was disclosed on Jan. 18, the companies said in statements yesterday.

General Electric, based in Fairfield, Conn. , would have bought operations with $2.7 billion in annual sales and product lines that include machines that test blood proteins for conditions including HIV and heart disease.

Inside the United States, Abbott Park, Ill. -based Abbott's diagnostic unit has been hampered by manufacturing issues that have had the division under U S Food and Drug Administration supervision since 1999. All but one manufacturing site passed FDA inspection within recent months.

"There were several factors involving the separation of the business in which the companies couldn't come to resolution," said Abbott's Melissa Brotz.