Pfizer weighing a $2B women's health sale, report says. Will it fare better than Allergan?

Pfizer sign
Pfizer kicked off pharma's slim-down crazy in 2012. (Tracy Staton/FiercePharma)

Earlier this year, Pfizer struck out on a sale of its consumer health unit. But it may be ready to try its hand at another selloff.

The New York drugmaker is weighing options for its women’s health lineup, Bloomberg reported Thursday, citing unnamed sources. The reason? The pharma giant would rather focus its attention on developing therapies with more potential for growth.

According to the report, Pfizer has brought on financial advisers to size up interest from potential suitors. Selling off the portfolio, which generates about $1.2 billion per year, could bring in about $2 billion, the source said, adding that it could draw attention from both private equity players and other drugmakers.

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A Pfizer spokesman had not yet returned a request for comment at press time.

If Allergan’s recent women’s health sale struggles are any indication, though, hiving off the unit may not be a cakewalk. After publicly putting his company’s women’s health business—along with its infectious disease unit—on the block in May, Allergan CEO Brent Saunders had a gloomy update for investors Wednesday.

“We have received now the preliminary expression of interest for some of these businesses and they are below what I believe the value of these businesses are,” he said, adding that if offers don’t go up, a sale could be a no-go.

RELATED: Allergan puts women's health, infectious disease units on the block

Pfizer certainly knows what that’s like. In March, the top two bidders for its consumer unit withdrew from the sale process, through which Pfizer had hoped to generate $20 billion. The moves prompted the company to hang onto the unit, at least for now.

It's "tough to dance without a partner," Credit Suisse analyst Vamil Divan, M.D., wrote in a note to clients at the time.

But considering Pfizer’s long-held enthusiasm for slim-downs, it would be no surprise to see the company try again with a different asset. It kicked off pharma’s divestment craze back in 2012 with the sale of its baby food unit to Nestlé, and it followed up the next year with a spinoff of animal health unit Zoetis.

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