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Johnson & Johnson Said Exploring Sale of Cordis Devices Business

Johnson & Johnson, the world’s biggest maker of health-care products, is exploring a sale of its Cordis unit, which pioneered the market for drug-coated heart stents, a person with knowledge of the matter said.

The division, which sells products including catheters and stents, may fetch as much as $2 billion, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. The process is in the early stages, the person said.

The medical-devices business, which includes Cordis, is J&J’s second-biggest behind pharmaceuticals and showed the weakest growth in the second quarter. Revenue at the unit rose less than 1 percent to $7.24 billion, according to a statement July 15, as total sales climbed 9 percent to $19.5 billion. About three years ago, after losing ground to rivals, Cordis said it would abandon the market for drug-coated heart stents and focus on other products.

A spokeswoman for J&J, based in New Brunswick, New Jersey, declined to comment.

Last month, J&J Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Alex Gorsky said the company was open to divesting smaller business.

Earlier this year, J&J agreed to sell its Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics business, which sells more than 120 tests for everything from high cholesterol to hormones, to Carlyle Group LP for about $4 billion.

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