Sweden's Meda weighs $1B sale of its U.S. business

Meda CEO Jörg-Thomas Dierks

Meda is no stranger to the M&A arena, last year inking a pact to buy Italy's Rottapharm. This time, though, it could wind up on the other side of the bargaining table.

The Swedish drugmaker is exploring its options--which include selling off its U.S. operations in a move that could be worth about $1 billion, Bloomberg reports. According to the news service's sources, expanding the business further would require significant investment from Meda.

Companies with an eye on respiratory therapies may find it an attractive target, though. The New Jersey-based business--dubbed Meda Pharmaceuticals Inc.--sells a range of drugs, such as nasal sprays and asthma treatments, that last year raked in 16% of Meda's total $1.8 billion haul. The company also boasts a 100-worker production facility in Decatur, IL, Bloomberg notes.

If Meda, which is working with Rothschild advisers, takes the sale road, the process could kick off as early as September, the sources say. The company could use sale proceeds to cut down its debt and stake out its own pickups, they told Bloomberg.

Meda struck its last transaction last July, agreeing to fork over $3.1 billion to Rottapharm's owners, the Rovati family, with an eye on the drugmaker's consumer health offerings.

If other deal-hungry pharmas had had their way, though, Meda would have been the seller rather than the buyer. Not long before nabbing Rottapharm, it spurned a buyout offer from Mylan ($MYL), and the year prior it quashed rumors that it was talking to interested suitor Sun Pharma--or anyone else, for that matter--about a sale.

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