• Sale of diagnostics provider also attracts Denmark's Novo
  • Geneva-based Unilabs could fetch as much as 1.5 billion euros

The sale of Swiss diagnostics company Unilabs SA has drawn interest from companies including Australia’s biggest listed medical-test provider, Sonic Healthcare Ltd., and buyout firms such as Cinven, people familiar with the matter said.

Unilabs has also attracted Novo A/S, the Danish holding company that’s the biggest shareholder of insulin maker Novo Nordisk A/S, and private-equity firm PAI Partners SAS as potential suitors, according to the people. They asked not to be identified as the information is private.

The Geneva-based testing company, which was founded in 1987, may fetch as much as 1.5 billion euros ($1.7 billion), people with knowledge of the matter said last month. Apax and Nordic Capital are working with financial advisory firm Rothschild on the process, the people said at the time.

The medical-diagnostics industry has seen a wave of consolidation in recent months amid a boom in health-care deals. In June, buyout firm Cinven agreed to acquire a majority stake in German laboratory operator Synlab Group. A month earlier, Cinven also bought French rival Labco SA for an enterprise value of 1.2 billion euros.

The Unilabs sale is at an early stage, and the owners could still decide not to pursue a deal, the people said. Representatives for Apax, Cinven, Nordic Capital, Novo, PAI and Sonic declined to comment.

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