• Pfizer is resuming negotiations with buyout firms to sell unit
  • Pfizer may still decide to keep the unit if no buyer is found

Fresenius SE’s negotiations to acquire Pfizer Inc.’s pumps and devices business have stalled on valuation, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Pfizer has decided to resume talks with private equity firms to try for a more attractive price for the business, which it acquired in last year’s purchase of Hospira Inc., two of the people said, asking not to be identified because the deliberations are private. Pfizer may return to negotiate with Fresenius or keep the assets if no agreement is reached with the buyout firms, they said.

Representatives for Pfizer and Fresenius declined to comment.

The sale of the assets may fetch $1.5 billion to $2 billion, people familiar with the matter said in June. As of last month, Fresenius was the leading bidder to acquire the unit and was nearing an agreement with Pfizer, they said. Private equity firms including Pamplona Capital Management and U.K.-based Smiths Group Plc were among bidders for the unit earlier in the year, people said at the time.

Pfizer acquired the business in last year’s $17 billion purchase of Hospira, a provider of injectable drugs and devices to deliver them. In April, Pfizer and Allergan Plc agreed to terminate a $160 billion merger, 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.

Fresenius, the biggest publicly traded health-care provider in Europe, promoted Stephan Sturm to chief executive officer last month, replacing Ulf Mark Schneider who departed after 13 years in charge.

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