The Board of Directors of Biomet, Inc. (Nasdaq: BMET), an orthopedics products maker, said Thursday it unanimously recommended an improved offer to acquire the company by a private equity consortium.

The group of affiliates of Blackstone Group, Goldman Sachs, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. and TPG increased their takeover bid to $11.4 billion. The group also includes Biomet CEO Dane Miller.

The new offer of $46 a share is 4.5 percent higher than a previous $10.9 billion, or $44 a share bid made in December.

The higher offer came after proxy advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services recommended Biomet shareholders vote against the original offer, saying the price was too low.

Biomet urged shareholders to approve the new deal, saying the offer represents a premium of 32.3 percent over the closing price of its shares on April 3, 2006, before speculation surfaced that the company was examining its strategic alternatives.

At least 75 percent of Biomet common shares must be tendered to complete the offer.

Shareholders were supposed to vote on the previous offer June 8, but that was canceled after the new proposal was announced.

As part of the revised merger agreement, Biomet has agreed not to pay its annual dividend.

Biomet, established in 1977, is one of three orthopedics companies based in Warsaw, about 100 miles north of Indianapolis.