Fresenius Is Leading Bidder for Pfizer’s Pumps Business

  • Germany’s Fresenius said to be in advanced talks to buy assets
  • U.K.’s Smiths Group said to no longer be in the running

Fresenius SE, the largest publicly listed health-care provider in Europe, is the leading bidder to acquire Pfizer Inc.’s pumps and devices business, which could fetch $1.5 billion to $2 billion, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Fresenius, based in Bad Homburg, Germany, is in advanced talks with Pfizer and an agreement could be reached as early as this month, said the people, asking not to be identified because the deliberations are private. Negotiations could still fall apart.

While U.K.-based Smiths Group Plc is theoretically still interested in the business, it is no longer in the running, two of the people said. The British industrials and medical company agreed in April to buy the explosives-detection arm of jet-engine maker Safran SA.

Representatives for Pfizer, Fresenius and Smiths declined to comment.

Fresenius, which has a market value of 36 billion euros ($41 billion), has products ranging from dialysis machines to infusion pumps, which allow drugs to be delivered over longer periods of time. The acquisition of the pumps and devices division could make sense at a “decent” price, Bankhaus Lampe analysts said in a note to investors earlier this week.

Pfizer acquired the business in last year’s $17 billion purchase of Hospira Inc., a provider of injectable drugs and devices to deliver them . In April, Pfizer terminated its $160 billion merger with Allergan Plc, ending what would have been the largest-ever pharmaceutical acquisition, after U.S. officials cracked down on corporate inversions, deals that enable companies to use overseas addresses to pay lower taxes.

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