BC Partners has reportedly emerged as a potential front-runner as it is said to be considering partnering up with another investor to make an offer for the business. The firm has experience in the sector with its acquisition of VetPartners in 2018, which reports valued at £700 million. Furthermore, earlier this year, BC sold animal intelligence company Antelliq (fka Allflex) to Merck for around €2.1 billion, which it bought in 2013 for $1.3 billion.
CVC Capital Partners and Advent International are reportedly exploring independent offers as well, while Cinven and Permira are understood to be considering a joint bid. Other undisclosed US-based investors could also take an interest in the subsidiary, which develops products for the prevention and treatment of diseases in pets and farm animals. It generated sales of €1.5 billion in 2018, down €70 million from the previous year, and EBITDA of €351 million.
The sale of Bayer's animal health products division was originally announced last year as part of a cost-cutting drive that would also see the German giant scrap 12,000 jobs. The group is looking to ship its Coppertone sunscreen products range, which Beiersdorf has agreed to buy for $550 million, and Dr. Scholl's foot care line, as well as its 60% holding in Currenta, a provider of industrial analytics services, which is part of a joint venture with Lanxess. Combined, the measures are estimated to result in annual savings of €2.6 billion and one-off costs of approximately €4.4 billion.
Bayer's quest to slash costs follows its $63 billion acquisition of Monsanto, one of Germany's largest ever corporate takeovers. While the company's CEO Werner Baumann has reportedly stated that the efficiency measures and the acquisition are unrelated, Bayer's shares have plummeted as it has faced legal setbacks relating to claims that exposure to Roundup, a weedkiller made by Monsanto, can cause hazardous health effects.
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