Warburg persists in trying to unload Bausch + Lomb

It was probably a good indication of just how poorly a possible sale of Bausch + Lomb was shaping up when unnamed sources kept leaking info about who all was sizing up the eye-care specialist.

Turns out, none of the named players were impressed enough to make an offer the company could see its way to accepting, not Abbott Laboratories ($ABT) or Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) or Sanofi ($SNY) and not Merck & Co. ($MRK) or Pfizer ($PFE). So now those unnamed insiders are telling Bloomberg that owner Warburg Pincus is again eyeing the initial public offering route to capitalize on its investment. Warburg apparently was looking for a bid of $9 billion. The Wall Street Journal recently reported pretty much the same thing but said that Warburg really wanted more than $10 billion for Bausch + Lomb. Either would place it among the priciest M&A pharma deals in the last several years.

While many think of Bausch + Lomb as a consumer business selling contact lenses and related paraphernalia, it also makes a number of prescription drugs and has a pipeline of products that might interest a drugmaker.

Warburg is reportedly now interviewing investment banks to handle an IPO. Bloomberg says it has been encouraged by the kind of money Pfizer raised in its spinoff of its animal health arm into Zoetis ($ZTS). Shares for that IPO went for $26 apiece, above Pfizer's offering range of $22 to $25, making it the biggest IPO since Facebook. Pfizer raised more than $2.2 billion for just a 17% share. Of course all of this leaked talk of an IPO may also be intended to entice one of Pharma's big players back to the table, or to extract more money from one already there.

- read the Bloomberg story

Special Report: Top Biopharma M&A Deals - 2012 

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