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Bracco, Guerbet reportedly in hunt for Bayer's radiology biz, but is it in play?

by Thomas Dworetzky, Contributing Reporter | December 08, 2016
Business Affairs
Another shoe has dropped in the story swirling around Bayer's interest in selling its radiology unit.

According to unnamed sources, Italian company Bracco is developing a possible offer for the unit, Reuters has reported via Business Insider.

In fact, the Italian firm has charged an investment bank “to find a partner for a possible joint offer for the unit, which may be valued at more than 4 billion euros,” according to the wire service.

Apparently French firm Guerbet is also interested in making a bid and has talked with possible partners in the deal.

However, Bayer “has not yet made a final decision on whether it will sell, but earlier this year mandated Goldman Sachs as a sell-side advisor and sent out information to prospective buyers, the people said, adding that the auction had been expected to start next year,” according to Reuters.

According to those anonymous sources the company “is also offering” the unit to interest private equity parties, like Advent, Carlyle or Cinven.

The radiology business generates more than 1.5 billion euros in revenue.

After May's second rejected $62 billion offer to buy Monsanto, anonymous comments surfaced that Bayer might be willing to part with its $3 billion radiology supplies business.

At that time Monsanto’s board nixed Bayer's bids, suggesting they were “incomplete and financially inadequate.”

Further discussions were not ruled out, however, and in September led to a deal in which Bayer “would pay $57 billion to Monsanto shareholders and assume $9 billion in Monsanto debt,” according to Associated Press via Farm Journal.

Bayer, which pulls in revenues of more than $1.7 billion from its radiological contrast agents and injection equipment, has said that this deal for the seed-giant does not hang on any radiology-unit sale.

Among its most widely used contrast agents are Gadavist for MR scans and Ultravist for CT. These two alone took in over $300 million in 2015.

Bayer has been targeting its focus with strategic deals in recent years toward prescription drugs and consumer care products. In 2014 it made a $415 million deal for its vascular catheters business with Boston Scientific. Last year its blood glucose meter business went to Panasonic Healthcare Holdings for 1.02 billion euros.

Of the latest news on the possible radiology deal, there have so far been no comments from Bracco and Guerbet to Reuters.

The deal for Bayer's dermatology unit is also not done, sources told Reuters. That sale would bring as much as 1 billion euros.

Avista is the final player in that deal, said the sources, noting that India's Lupin and investor BC Partners have now passed.

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