An employee checks sealed packets of tablets as they move along the production line at a drug manufacturing unit (Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg)

Fosun Pharma Is Said to Vie for $2 Billion Novartis Portfolio

(Bloomberg) -- Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical Group Co. is among shortlisted bidders for a portfolio of Novartis AG assets, including its U.S. dermatology business, that could fetch as much as $2 billion, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Apollo Global Management LLC, CVC Capital Partners and Indian drugmaker Aurobindo Pharma Ltd. have also been picked to make final offers, the people said. A buyer for the assets held by the drugmaker’s U.S.-based Sandoz unit could emerge within the next few weeks, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private.

Novartis has been weighing the sale of the U.S. generics assets, which also include its oral treatments business, since at least the beginning of this year, people familiar with the matter have said. The drugmaker is focusing on the Sandoz unit’s more profitable treatments within its respiratory, biologics and injectables divisions, the people said in January.

Representatives for Fosun Pharma, Apollo and Novartis declined to comment. Representatives for Aurobindo and CVC and didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Novartis has been making acquisitions in sectors with the potential for higher growth, like rare diseases. Last month, it agreed to buy AveXis Inc. for $8.7 billion to gain a promising drug to treat a rare disease that afflicts infants. It bought Advanced Accelerator Applications SA for about $3.9 billion earlier this year.

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