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Unsatisfied with pharma's price, Bausch + Lomb weighs IPO

WSJ: Drug-industry bidders Sanofi, J&J balk at $10B asking price
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Big Pharma may still have a shot at buying Bausch + Lomb, but owners Warburg Pincus are now eyeing an IPO instead. Apparently, the private equity firm isn't satisfied with the price it's likely to get from an industry buyer.

As The Wall Street Journal reports, Warburg Pincus asked for initial bids this week, looking for at least $10 billion. But rumored bidders, including Sanofi ($SNY) and Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ), figure that's too rich. The $8 billion to $9 billion range would be more like it.

Plus, Bausch + Lomb management is on the IPO side of things. Two weeks ago, CEO Brent Saunders told Reuters that he'd like to go public. In his words, he's "aspiring to return to public markets." Being swallowed up by a major drugmaker is almost as far from that goal as you can get.

Still, the private equity group isn't giving up on a sale altogether, the WSJ says. It will prepare for an IPO, but entertain bids if they come along. Negotiating ploy? Perhaps. We'll see how the deal shapes up from here.

- read the WSJ piece (sub. req.)

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