Bayer may sell diabetes devices unit to KKR-backed Panasonic Health -report

Deal worth up to €2bn is part of move to focus on margin-rich healthcare sectors

The Bayer AG logo stands on a sign outside of the company’s headquarters ahead of a news conference to announce the drugmaker’s earnings in Leverkusen, Germany, on Friday, Feb. 28, 2014. Bayer raised its forecast for peak sales of new drugs such as the blood thinner Xarelto even as fourth-quarter results and the revenue outlook for this year missed analyst estimates. Photographer: Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg

The Bayer AG logo stands on a sign outside of the company’s headquarters ahead of a news conference to announce the drugmaker’s earnings in Leverkusen, Germany, on Friday, Feb. 28, 2014. Bayer raised its forecast for peak sales of new drugs such as the blood thinner Xarelto even as fourth-quarter results and the revenue outlook for this year missed analyst estimates. Photographer: Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg

 

German drugmaker Bayer is in talks to sell its diabetes devices division but a sale is not imminent, two sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

Bayer is making a second attempt to sell the Contour blood glucose-meter business, which had annual sales of €722 million in 2013, as it overhauls its business to focus on margin-rich healthcare sectors.

KKR-backed Panasonic Healthcare Holdings has been in talks with Bayer over the diabetes devices division for some time, but final bids are some weeks off, one source with direct knowledge of the matter said.

The US private equity firm owns 80 percent of Panasonic Healthcare and Panasonic Corp owns 20 per cent. Panasonic Healthcare, KKR and Bayer all declined to comment.

Bloomberg reported on Thursday that a sale to Panasonic Healthcare, which could be valued at between €1 billion and €2 billion, could be announced as soon as Friday.

Bayer had tried to find a buyer for the business in 2012 as the industry grappled with increased competition and reimbursement pressures due to tight public healthcare budgets but it failed to generate sufficient interest from potential suitors, sources said at the time.

Panasonic Healthcare, with its emphasis on personalised healthcare and technology, is seen as a good fit for Contour.

Bayer also plans to list its plastics business on the stock market to free up money for investments and acquisitions in healthcare, veterinary drugs and crop protection products. – Reuters