Thwarted buyer Sanofi tries its hand at a $2.1B European generics sale: report

Sanofi's headquarters in Paris
Sanofi is readying a sale of its European generics business, Reuters reports.

After losing out on two sizable deals, Sanofi CEO Olivier Brandicourt recently said his company wasn’t looking to make any big M&A moves right away. Instead, Sanofi might be looking to slim down by prepping the sale of its European generics unit, according to a new report.

The French drugmaker wants to hire advisers by the end of this month and conduct an auction after the summer for a deal estimated to be worth about €2 billion ($2.1 billion), sources told Reuters.

News of a potential sale comes after Brandicourt last month said his company is “not in a hurry to do M&A.” That represented a significant change from the company’s actions over the last year.

RELATED: Sanofi's not running pell-mell toward buyouts, CEO says, after reporting 'quiet' quarter

Sanofi made several moves during the frenzied Medivation deal fray, only to be beaten out by Pfizer with its $14 billion offer. Then, Sanofi was reportedly in talks to buy Actelion, but that company ultimately went to Johnson & Johnson for $30 billion.

Since joining Sanofi in 2015, Brandicourt has kicked off a strategic review and embarked on a strategy to build around five global business units: general medicines and emerging markets, specialty care, diabetes and cardiovascular, vaccines outfit Sanofi Pasteur and animal health group Merial.

Later, though, the drugmaker put Merial and the European generics business on the chopping block and kicked off a $1.6 billion cost-cutting effort.

RELATED: Sanofi puts 2 units on the block, commits to $1.6B in cuts to turn business around

Last June, the company agreed on an asset swap with Boehringer Ingelheim to send away the animal health business, valued at €11.4 billion though the deal. Sanofi picked up Boehringer's consumer health assets in a move to bolster its offerings in a business it has targeted for growth.

RELATED: Aiming for top dog status, Sanofi and Boehringer swap animal and consumer health units

Meanwhile, plenty of M&A action is taking place elsewhere around the generics industry, too. Squeezed by a wave of consolidation and price erosion, Impax Labs is currently weighing its strategic options and Germany's Stada is in talks with three prospective buyers.