The news service cautions Medtronic's prep work is at an early stage, and that "no offer is imminent." Nonetheless, Medtronic is viewed as "a more serious bidder" for SNN than Stryker (SYK -0.1%), previously rumored to be weighing an offer.
Sources state a deal would likely result in Medtronic using SNN's corporate shell to change its legal residence to the U.K., and thereby take advantage of lower tax rates. Medtronic, which has a large offshore cash balance, has previously said it's open to a tax-inversion deal.
Shares of both companies have spiked higher following the report. SNN's market cap is currently at $17B.