Pfizer readies bidding info for nutritionals auction

While some Pfizer strategists were busy debating whether to sell or spin off its animal health unit, others were moving forward with the potential sale of its nutritionals business. As Bloomberg reports, the company is prepping for an auction, with plans to distribute information on the nutrition unit in September.

Analysts have said the unit could bring around $8 billion to $10 billion, and Bloomberg points to Nestle, Danone and Abbott Laboratories as probable bidders; those three companies have already talked with financial advisers about the unit. Mead Johnson Nutrition--which Bristol-Myers Squibb spun off last year--and Unilever are also likely to consider bidding, sources told the news service.

"The iron is definitely hot, and Pfizer would like to strike," Morningstar analyst Damien Conover told Bloomberg. "There are some synergies that these folks could have that would outbid what the market would pay for the unit" in a spinoff.

But Pfizer's financial advisors are also working on a spinoff scenario, weighing the potential proceeds of both approaches. Antitrust issues aren't likely to pose a major obstacle to a sale of the nutritionals business, in contrast to the animal-health unit, where regulators have already proven to be concerned about market competition.

- read the Bloomberg story