Guidant Corp. (GDT) abandoned its support for a $24.2 billion acquisition bid from Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) in favor of Tuesday's far richer $27.2 billion offer from Boston Scientific Corp. (BSX).

The shift came after Guidant's board had twice rejected higher offers from Boston Scientific in favor of a J&J proposal that Guidant had said offered a speedier route to completion.

Guidant said in a brief statement that its board determined "that Boston Scientific's revised offer to acquire Guidant is superior to the terms of the company's current merger agreement with Johnson & Johnson."

Boston Scientific had set a 5 p.m. EST deadline for the Guidant response, which was announced about 30 minutes before that deadline.

Boston Scientific's latest offer was more than $2 billion richer than an offer it had presented last Thursday, and included other new enticements in hopes of enticing Guidant's board away from J&J's proposal.

Shareholders are due to vote on J&J's offer Jan. 31. But with Indianapolis-based Guidant declaring Boston Scientific's bid superior, J&J now has five business days to counter it under the terms of its agreement with Guidant. Boston Scientific's offer will remain open for formal acceptance by Guidant until Jan. 25.