• Charterhouse also interested in buying French pharmacy firm
  • Sale may be agreed by year-end, could fetch 700 million euros

Buyout firms BC Partners, Bridgepoint and Charterhouse Capital Partners are among bidders competing to buy French pharmaceutical company Cooper, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The sale process is at an advanced stage and may be agreed as early as year-end, the people said, asking not to be identified because the negotiations are private. While the sale of Melun, France-based Cooper has mainly attracted interest from private-equity firms, some strategic buyers may also be interested, the people said. No final decision has been made, and French buyout firm Caravelle may choose not to sell the company, they said.

Caravelle is working with financial advisers at Rothschild as it seeks a buyer for Cooper, people familiar with the matter said last month. The sale could fetch about 700 million euros ($785 million), the people said.

Founded in 1907 as the French Pharmaceutical Cooperation, Cooper had sales of more than 200 million euros last year, according to a corporate profile on LinkedIn. Some of its over-the-counter brands include head-lice treatment Pouxit, antiseptic solution Dakin and insect repellent Ecran.

A spokeswoman for Paris-based Caravelle and representatives for Bridgepoint, Charterhouse and BC Partners declined to comment.

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