Teva Said to Consider Sale of Cancer Portfolio to Reduce Debt

  • Israeli drugmaker is speaking to financial advisers on deal
  • Oncology treatments reported $1.14 billion in 2016 revenue

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., the Israeli drugmaker seeking to cut debt after an acquisition spree, is exploring a sale of its specialty cancer treatments, according to people familiar with the matter.

Teva is speaking with financial advisers about the possible sale of the oncology business, which includes treatments for leukemia and a slow-growing form of lymphoma, the people said, asking not to be identified because the deliberations are private. The business could attract private equity bidders and other companies, they said.

Considerations are preliminary, and Teva could decide against a sale, the people said. A representative for Teva didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Revenue from the oncology division fell 5 percent to $1.14 billion last year. Sales from its Treanda and Bendeka drugs were hit by competition from rival therapies, the company said in its February financial report.

Debts have ballooned following last year’s approximately $40 billion acquisition of Allergan Plc’s generics business. The transaction came just as prices of cheap copycat drugs began to fall and the threat of competition for Teva’s best-selling branded medicine mounted. The company’s U.S.-traded shares have plummeted to near a 10-year low.

The company’s also looking for a new chief executive officer and has said it will hold off on making major strategic decisions until one has been hired. Teva’s chief financial officer may also leave the generic drugmaker, according to Hebrew business daily Calcalist. Teva’s spokeswoman declined to comment on the executive change.

The company is working with Morgan Stanley on the sale of its women’s health business, which makes fertility and menopause treatments as well as contraception, people familiar with the matter have said previously.

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