U.S. Vice President Mike Pence visits a GE Healthcare manufacturing facility in Madison
A completed GE digital anesthesia carestation stands as U.S. Vice President Mike Pence (not pictured) visits a GE Healthcare manufacturing facility during the global coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Madison, Wisconsin, U.S. April 21, 2020. Reuters

ICU Medical Inc has teamed up with a private equity firm to challenge GE Healthcare Technologies Inc in its pursuit of two medical technology businesses that Medtronic Plc is seeking to sell for between $8 billion and $9 billion, according to people familiar with the process.

ICU Medical, a U.S. medical device maker, has submitted an offer for the assets in partnership with buyout firm Linden Capital Partners and is through to the second round of bidding in the auction process, the sources said.

GE Healthcare and private equity firms Carlyle Group Inc and Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R), which have been pursuing rival offers separately, are also through to the second round, the sources added.

Carlyle is bidding through its newly formed healthcare investment platform Atmas Health, according to one of the sources.

Medtronic has been taking offers for its patient monitoring and respiratory interventions businesses even as it presses on with preparations to spin them off to its shareholders. The Dublin-based company will opt for the spin-off if acquisition offers for the assets in the coming weeks do not meet its valuation expectations, the sources said.

The sources requested anonymity because the matter is confidential. A Medtronic spokesperson said the company will provide details on the future of the two units "in due course" and declined to comment further.

ICU Medical, GE Healthcare, Carlyle and CD&R declined to comment. Linden did not respond to requests for comment.

Medtronic, the world's largest standalone medical device maker, announced in October it would seek to shed its patient monitoring and respiratory interventions businesses to streamline its portfolio and focus on its higher-growth assets, such as its heart and diabetes devices.

The patient monitoring technology portfolio includes Nellcor pulse oximetry and BIS brain monitoring, while the respiratory interventions business comprises ventilators and breathing systems.

ICU Medical, whose market capitalization is just shy of $4 billion, has been on an acquisition spree, most recently buying Pfizer Inc's infusion therapy business and Smith Group Plc's medical division for $1 billion and $2.5 billion, respectively.

GE Healthcare, which spun out of General Electric Co in January, is a provider of imaging, ultrasound and diagnostics equipment that has a market value of $35 billion.