Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Merck eyes Bausch & Lomb

Merck CEO Says ‘Worth Thinking About’ Bausch & Lomb Deal

Merck & Co. Chief Executive Officer Kenneth Frazier said the drugmaker may be interested in buying Bausch & Lomb, the eye-care company for sale by Warburg Pincus LLC for at least $10 billion.

“It’s something that’s worth thinking about, that’s the most I can say,” Frazier said in an interview today at the JPMorgan Chase & Co. health conference in San Francisco.

Warburg, working with Goldman Sachs Group Inc., is giving interested parties access to its financial data and seeking first-round bids by month’s end, said people with knowledge of the matter, who asked not to be named because the process is private. Warburg is seeking at least $10 billion for the business, these people said. Goldman Sachs contacted some prospective bidders right including Merck before Christmas with information about Bausch & Lomb, said one of the people.

Earlier in the day, Frazier said the Whitehouse Station, New Jersey-based company isn’t interested in a large drug acquisition, preferring to focus on smaller, early-stage deals rather than large combinations.

Other parties considering bids and receiving confidential financial information on Bausch & Lomb include Pfizer Inc. (PFE), Johnson & Johnson, Abbott Laboratories (ABT) and Sanofi (SAN), according to the people with knowledge of the matter.

To contact the reporter on this story: Drew Armstrong in New York at darmstrong17@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reg Gale at rgale5@bloomberg.net


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