We know plenty of Big Pharma companies are hawking portfolios of old products. What we don't know is who might buy them. One answer came earlier this week, when Mylan ($MYL) said it would acquire an ex-U.S. portfolio of Abbott Laboratories ($ABT) meds in a $5.3 billion stock swap.
Now, it might be Sanofi's turn--and Mylan and Abbott are part of that chatter, too. As Reuters reports, Sanofi ($SNY) has talked with both companies about a deal for a pool of older meds. The French drugmaker has also entertained potential private equity buyers, according to an internal document seen by the news service.
Potential price: €6.3 billion, or about $8.5 billion. Potential payoff for Sanofi, in addition to the price: less exposure to price cuts, a smaller manufacturing footprint in Europe, and some freed-up cash.
Unsurprisingly, a French union circulated the document; labor groups in France watch Sanofi's moves closely, particularly any moves that might affect jobs. That document concerns a plan--dubbed the Phoenix project--presented to Sanofi's investment committee in May. And the potential deal could affect up to 2,600 jobs, the news service says.
Sanofi isn't yet set on a sale, the document shows; it might create a joint venture instead. The 200 drugs include one of the French drugmaker's most successful ever, Plavix. The clot-buster is now off-patent, though, with much-reduced sales. Together, the portfolio brings in about €2.1 billion ($2.84 billion) per year, Reuters says.
The potential Sanofi move is part of a slim-down craze sweeping through pharma. Drugmakers are doubling down on their core strengths and getting out of fields where they're weaker. Novartis and Glaxo ($GSK) pulled off a multibillion-dollar asset swap in April; Glaxo picked up Novartis' ($NVS) vaccines unit and sold its own oncology line-up to the Swiss drugmaker. Merck ($MRK) followed suit shortly after with the $14.2 billion sale of its consumer health unit to Bayer.
- read the Reuters news
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