J&J, which owns about 250 separate firms under its corporate umbrella, has been troubled by stiff competition and recalls in its hip and knee replacement division and consumer health division.

The acquisition of Synthes will be J&J’s largest deal and will help the US based healthcare multinational to further diversify its business by giving it a presence in equipment to treat broken bones and trauma.

Some time back J&J tried to acquire US medical device company Guidant, but was outbid by Boston Scientific.

However, the Swiss-based Synthes said no assurance can be given as to whether, when or on what terms any possible transaction might occur.

"Synthes does not intend to make any further public statements unless and until a definitive agreement has been reached, or until discussions between the parties have terminated," the company said.