Reports: AZ puts cancer centers, device unit on block

Is AstraZeneca ($AZN) looking to shed some peripheral businesses? Sources say so. Reuters reports that AZ has hired JPMorgan Chase to help it sell off Astra Tech, its dental and medical devices unit, and Aptium Oncology, a chain of U.S. outpatient cancer centers.

AZ is looking for about $2 billion for AstraTech, which makes dental implants and devices for urology and surgery; it posted sales of $506 million last year, Dow Jones reports. JPMorgan is shopping the unit to other device companies--Reuters mentions Biomet and Medtronic as potential buyers--and private equity firms. Aptium, meanwhile, is expected to fetch about $500 million or less.

"They are tidying up the non-core bits of the company and this is therefore not a surprise," Evolution Securities analyst Dominic Valder told Dow Jones. "AstraZeneca has never obviously tried to invest and grow that business, it's been just sitting there and it's a tough market. And they need the money."

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