J&J in talks to buy Synthes for $20 billion: report

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Johnson & Johnson <JNJ.N> is in talks to buy Swiss medical device maker Synthes <SYST.VX> for $20 billion, according to a report on the Wall Street Journal website, citing people familiar with the matter.

However, the talks were characterized as fragile and could fall apart at any time, one person told the Journal.

Synthes shares closed up 6.2 percent in Switzerland, with traders citing market talk that the diversified healthcare company or U.S. medical device maker Medtronic Inc <MDT.N> could be interested in buying the company.

J&J declined to comment on the report. "As a matter of policy we don't comment on speculation," J&J spokesman Bill Price said.

(Reporting by Bill Berkrot and Lewis Krauskopf; Editing by Richard Chang)