Valeant, Mylan and Actavis eye Pfizer's brand-new generics unit for buyout: Reuters

Pfizer ($PFE) celebrated three birthdays January 1. That's when it officially divided its business into three distinct units, each with its own management and financial reporting--and each with its own prospect of setting off on its own, at least eventually.

Analysts are betting that one of those three businesses will be first to go: Pfizer's value products business, a.k.a., its off-patent and soon-to-be-off-patent products. And they figure Group President John Young will be working hard to get that business humming at high frequency as a prelude to sale or spinoff.

Already, potential buyers are buzzing.

Reuters reports that a trio of possible suitors--the always-up-for-a-deal Valeant ($VRX), plus generics bigwigs Mylan ($MYL) and Actavis ($ACT)-- are eyeing Pfizer's branded generics business. Citing several unnamed sources, the news service says all three companies have expressed their interest, but Pfizer isn't ready to broach the subject.

Though the new unit's numbers won't be discrete till first-quarter results are released this spring, there is a number attached to Pfizer's current established products business, and that's $7 billion for the first 9 months of last year, Reuters says.

That's a really big bite for a company like Valeant, which just pulled off its biggest buyout ever: the $8.7 billion deal for Bausch & Lomb. But Valeant CEO J. Michael Pearson thinks big, and he said just last week that he's eyeing a place in pharma's global top 5.

Meanwhile, both Mylan and Actavis are aiming for the top spot in the worldwide generics league. Actavis was formed in November 2012 when Watson Laboratories CEO Paul Bisaro merged his company with Swiss-based Actavis and took on the latter's name. The company has since snapped up Ireland-based Warner Chilcott for $5 billion, in a deal that closed late last year. Actavis racked up almost $6 billion in the first 9 months of 2013, and with Warner Chilcott in the mix, it's expected to hit $11 billion this year.

Mylan wrapped up its own deals in 2013. Most recently, it bought Agila Specialties, the India-based injectables unit of Strides Arcolab, for $1.75 billion. For the first 9 months of last year, its total revenue amounted to $5.1 billion.

- see the Reuters news

Special Reports: Top 10 Pharma Companies by 2012 Revenue - Pfizer | Top 10 generics makers by 2012 revenue - Mylan - Actavis