Abbott CEO: Pharma unit not for sale

Is Abbott Laboratories looking to sell off the pharma unit it's planning to divorce? Not to hear CEO Miles White tell it. Not only does Abbott ($ABT) have no intention of hawking the drug business to potential buyers, White says, but also any bidder that did happen to come forward would have to offer a really sweet deal.

As Reuters reports, analysts have speculated that Abbott's hived-off pharma unit might be a buyout target, ever since the company announced its intent to split in two. But White says neither of the two Abbott descendants is an "acquisition candidate."

"You're probably going to end up with two companies that are in the $40-45 billion range on day one," White said at the FT Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology Conference (as quoted by the news service). "We're not offering them for sale ... somebody would have to have an awful lot of cash and they'd have to have a 'yes' from a CEO and that would be a tough 'yes' to get."

Abbott's split-up plans will put Richard Gonzalez in charge of the pharma business, which hasn't yet been graced with a name, while White will run the company that comprises everything else. That way, the pharma unit can focus on pharma, and Wall Street can focus on the diversified products that still bear the Abbott name.

- read the Reuters story