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Sanofi nears deal to sell its generic business unit Zentiva

Pharma sector is currently going through a volatile phase with companies shifting business models, either by divesting or swapping their non-profitable business units. The latest story is of Sanofi (SNY), which is selling off certain assets in a move to streamline the company.

The Paris-headquartered company plans to offload its European generics business Zentiva that it acquired in 2009. Several bidders had earlier dropped out of an auction, but latest news suggests that the company is nearing an agreement and may soon finalize the sale.

According to Reuters, private equity firm Advent International has shown interest in acquiring the generic drug arm from the French healthcare company for about $2.48 billion (1.9 billion euros) including equity and debt.

Sanofi decided to divest Zentiva, which focuses on generic pharma products, as a part of its 2020 strategic initiative. The sale is expected to be completed by the end of this year.

Several Indian pharma giants had also shown interest in acquiring Sanofi’s portfolio that includes cardiovascular and gastrointestinal medications, primarily because of its high growth potential in the East European markets.

Private equity firm Advent International has shown interest in acquiring the generic drug arm from the French healthcare company for about $2.48 billion (1.9 billion euros) including equity and debt.

Sanofi, which recently snapped Belgian drug company Ablynx in a deal worth $4.8 billion, had earlier planned to divest the generic business unit in 2015. But Olivier Brandicourt, who had stepped in as the new CEO, engaged in other deal-making activities. In an asset swap in 2016, the company handed over its animal health unit Merial to Boehringer Ingelheim and got consumer health business of the latter in return.

The company is basically shifting its focus to the specialty care and is boosting its R&D pipeline.

In a similar move only a day back, UK-based Shire (SHPG) sold its oncology business to France’s Servier Laboratories for about $2.4 billion.

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