J&J Said to Narrow Bidder List to 3 for Diagnostics Business

Johnson & Johnson narrowed the list of possible buyers of its Ortho Clinical Diagnostics business to three, including a joint bid from Danaher Corp. and Blackstone Group LP, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The suitors now include Danaher-Blackstone, Carlyle Group LP and a joint offer from CVC Capital Partners Ltd. and Leonard Green & Partners LP, said the people, who asked not to be named because the process is private. J&J received interest from at least five potential bidders, mostly private-equity firms, the people said. The company hopes to have a deal done before the end of the year, one person said.

The health-care giant is trying to shed the unit because it isn’t a market leader and the company prefers to focus on molecular diagnostics, J&J Chief Executive Officer Alex Gorsky said in January. Ortho makes diagnostic equipment and sells tests for everything from cholesterol to fertility hormones. The division may fetch close to $4 billion, according to one of the people familiar with the situation.

Ernie Knewitz, a spokesman for New Brunswick, New Jersey-based J&J, declined to comment. Representatives for Blackstone, Carlyle and CVC declined to comment. A message left with Danaher outside regular business hours wasn’t returned, and a representative for Leonard Green didn’t respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

While Bain Capital Partners LLC had expressed interest in the company, it’s no longer in the running, one of the people said. A representative for Bain declined to comment.

J&J hired JPMorgan Chase & Co. to find a buyer for the diagnostic unit, according to the people familiar with the situation, after CEO Gorsky said the company would explore options for the business.

J&J rose less than 1 percent to $95.20 yesterday in New York. The shares have gained 36 percent this year.

Reuters previously reported that J&J is in final talks with two bidders, the Danaher-Blackstone group and Carlyle.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.