April 17, 2011
From the DailyMail in the UK – 1.3 billion pounds is 2.04 billion Cdn dollars
Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca has begun a £1.3 billion auction of its dental implants and medical devices division as it looks to focus on its core medicine business. Bids for Astra Tech, which makes catheters and breathing aids, as well as advanced dental devices, have been submitted by more than ten companies. The Sweden-based division, which employs 2,200, has received offers from private equity firms Bridgepoint and Cinven of Britain and PAI Partners of France.
US-based Warburg Pincus and trade buyer Zimmer Holdings, a worldwide leader in hip and knee replacements, have also bid. AstraZeneca last year appointed JP Morgan, which is offering financing to bidders, to conduct a strategic review of the division with a sale as an option. That auction is now under way with second-round bids expected towards the end of next month.
It is understood that some bidders are looking to buy only the dental implants unit while others want the medical devices operation. Unlike rivals Novartis and GlaxoSmithKline, which are diversifying, AstraZeneca is looking to shed non-core businesses. Last month it escaped paying £1.4 billion it had set aside for potential tax liabilities and was asked to pay just £687 million in settlement of a protracted dispute with British and US authorities. That meant it could lift profit targets for this year by almost seven per cent. AstraZeneca and JP Morgan both declined to comment.