Expanding its presence in the health care market, Germany’s Linde will acquire U.S.-based Lincare Holdings for $4.6 billion. Lincare had been part of Linde’s U.S. operations until Union Carbide bought them in 1917. In 2011, Lincare had $1.85 billion in sales of gases, equipment, and services for home health care. According to Linde, home care accounts for about two-thirds of the $15 billion health care market for gases and is the fastest-growing segment at 6% per year. “This strategic acquisition enables us to take the next big step in this stable, sustainable, and profitable business field,” Linde CEO Wolfgang Reitzle says. After the acquisition, Linde will have annual sales of about $3.5 billion in the health care area, which includes supplying gases to hospitals and clinics. Earlier this year, Linde acquired Air Products & Chemicals’ European health care business. In a similar move, Air Liquide is purchasing a majority stake in the French health care business LVL Médical Groupe for $386 million.