Advent Is Said to Near Deal to Acquire Sanofi Generics Unit

(Bloomberg) -- Advent International Corp. is close to acquiring Sanofi’s European generics division in a deal valued at about 2 billion euros ($2.5 billion) including debt, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The French drugmaker’s board is scheduled to meet as early as Monday to sign off on the deal, which could be announced in coming days, the people said, asking not to be identified because the deliberations are private. No final decision has been made and the talks may still fall apart, they said.

Representatives for Sanofi couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. A spokesman for Advent declined to comment.

An accord would signal the culmination of a process that began more than two years ago as Chief Executive Officer Olivier Brandicourt started to shift the drugmaker’s focus to biotechnology and new medicines. The sale would add to the more than $15 billion in transactions that Sanofi has announced so far this year, including the acquisition of Bioverativ Inc. to expand in hemophilia treatments and Ablynx NV to gain an experimental medicine for another rare bleeding disorder.

Advent and BC Partners were going head to head in competing to buy the generics business known as Zentiva, people familiar with the matter had said Friday. Other final bidders in the process included Brazilian drugmaker EMS and buyout firm Carlyle Group LP, they said.

Zentiva, based in Prague, focuses on developing, manufacturing and marketing generic pharmaceutical products and traces its roots back to the Black Eagle pharmacy in the 15th century, according to its website. Sanofi acquired the business in 2009, three years after becoming its largest shareholder.

Sanofi shares rose 0.5 percent to 66.31 euros as of 10:21 a.m. Paris time.

The French drugmaker separately is selling 12 pharmaceutical brands to Charterhouse Capital Partners LLP’s portfolio company Cooper-Vemedia for 158 million euros, according to a statement Monday. The products are split across dermatology, well-being, eye care and other fields.

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