Sanofi nears €2B deal with Advent to unload European generics business: report

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Sanofi could announce a deal to sell Zentiva in the coming days, Bloomberg reports. (Pixabay)

Other bidders may have dropped out of an auction for Sanofi's European generics unit, but that doesn't mean it hasn't found a buyer. The drugmaker is nearing an agreement and could announce a sale in the next several days, Bloomberg reports.

Sanofi's board could meet as soon as Monday to vote on a deal worth about €2 billion ($2.48 billion), according to the news service's sources. Of course, the sources note that the deal isn't final and that it could ultimately fail to materialize. 

The news follows previous decisions by private equity firm Nordic Capital and Indian drugmaker Torrent Pharma to bow out of negotiations, worried that the unit is too pricey, according to press reports. PE firm Carlyle Group and Brazil's EMS remained in deal talks through final bidding, according to Bloomberg. 

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And that's not the only deal Sanofi has had in the works. The company has been toiling to reshape itself for several years, and as part of that effort on Monday sold 12 "noncore" pharma brands to Cooper-Vemedia for €158 million, a spokesperson confirmed.

RELATED: Another one's gone: Torrent drops out of Sanofi generics auction over price, report says 

Sanofi's European generics business, also known as Zentiva, operates in 50 countries and sells drugs in disease areas including cardiovascular, central nervous system, gastrointestinal and metabolic disorders and more. It brought in €760 million last year, a 4.9% decrease from 2016.

The drugmaker talked about selling the business in 2015, but CEO Olivier Brandicourt made other M&A moves after coming on board instead. In 2016, Brandicourt offloaded Sanofi's animal health unit Merial in an asset swap with Boehringer Ingelheim, getting BI's consumer health business in return.

RELATED: With private equity bidders lined up, Sanofi's EU generics could go for up to $2.4B: Reuters  

Through the refocusing effort, Brandicourt wants to zero in on five global business units and save €1.5 billion in annual costs. 

The drugmaker hasn't only slimmed down, though. Sanofi purchased nanobody biotech Ablynx for $4.8 billion and hemophilia-focused Bioverativ for $11.6 billion in sizable deals early this year. Afterward, Brandicourt said the acquisitions "dramatically reshape our portfolio in specialty care" and boost the company's R&D presence.