Sinocare said to bid $1B for Bayer diabetes devices, piping Panasonic

China's Sinocare reportedly has made a $1 billion bid for Germany-based Bayer's diabetes devices. As maker of blood-sugar monitors, Sinocare would be challenging a broader-based company, Panasonic Healthcare, already months into discussions with the seller.

The Contour blood glucose meter--Courtesy of Bayer

According to the report by Bloomberg, which cited people with knowledge of the bid, Sinocare has teamed with Citic Securities and sought financing from China banks to cover the bid.

As far back as last November, Bayer was reported to be interested in unloading that part of its business, which was valued then as worth as much as $2.5 billion. As late as February, Bayer was reported to be near a deal.

The Sinocare bid fits the Chinese government goals of becoming a major producer of medical devices and pharmaceuticals as part of new 10-year plan.

Also a fit for that long-range plan was Biosensors International Group's announcement that by leveraging Chinese buyout funds, it would seek foreign acquisitions to build its business in chronic diseases.

In March, after 5 months of speculation, reports said Japan's Panasonic Healthcare counted on paying only $830 million for Bayer's diabetes device business. Previous estimates had guessed a sale of up to $2.3 billion.

Bayer announced last year that it was attempting to sell off some of its peripheral businesses so it could stay focused on its life sciences drug products. Panasonic has been said to be interested in the German company's blood-glucose meters as it joins other Japan electronics companies in getting more heavily involved in the healthcare business.

The blood-glucose meters sector of pharmaceutical devices is expected to continue growing at the rate of about 10% a year along with an increase in diabetes cases. Panasonic has no brand of its own and instead has been producing the meters for Bayer and other manufacturers.

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