Boehringer Ingelheim Said to Weigh Sale of Roxane Labs Unit

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Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH is considering the sale of its U.S. Roxane Labs business, which may be valued at as much as 2 billion euros ($2.4 billion), people with knowledge of the situation said.

The drugmaker is working with Morgan Stanley on the possible sale of its Columbus, Ohio-based generic-drugs business, two of the people said, asking not to be identified as the plans are private. No final decision has been made and the company may choose not to sell the assets, they said.

“Boehringer Ingelheim is exploring strategic options for its generic pharmaceutical business,” a spokeswoman for Boehringer said in an e-mailed statement. The unit is known as Roxane Labs and comprises Roxane Laboratories Inc., and its manufacturing and supply-chain affiliate, Boehringer Ingelheim Roxane Inc., the statement said.

A spokesman for Morgan Stanley declined to comment.

Boehringer, based in Ingelheim, Germany, may also be interested in pursuing asset swaps with competitors, to bulk up its existing businesses such as prescription drugs, one of the people said. The company could also use some of the cash from a possible sale for acquisitions, another person said.

Boehringer was one of several companies interested in bidding for Omega Pharma NV last year, people with knowledge of the matter told Bloomberg News at the time. Perrigo Co. agreed to buy the Belgian health-care company for 3.6 billion euros in November.

Faced with declining sales and expiring patents on certain portfolios, some pharmaceutical companies have been dividing assets into units that can then be split off, or beginning divestment processes for the drugs. While GlaxoSmithKline Plc, Sanofi and UCB SA each announced plans to sell parts of their business last year, the potential divestments were later canceled.

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