12/10/2012 8:40:23 AM
French health-care company Sanofi SA SAN.FR -0.42% is the last remaining suitor for the blood glucose meter business that Germany's Bayer AG BAYN.XE -0.04% is seeking to sell in a deal that could be valued at around $1.5 billion or more, several people familiar with the matter said. The two companies are still haggling over the price and any agreement is several weeks off, one of these people said, and it is possible that no deal will be reached. It is still possible another suitor could re-emerge. Should the two sides reach an agreement, it would come as somewhat of a surprise after several German newspapers reported in October that Bayer's effort to sell the business had foundered. Bayer itself hasn't commented on the matter and declined to do so again Thursday. People close to the matter said earlier this year that Bayer was seeking a buyer for the unit, which bankers say had 2011 sales of slightly more than €1 billion ($1.3 billion). A spokesman for Sanofi declined to comment on the matter. Market growth for glucose-control systems, which can be sold in pharmacies and administered by patients themselves at home, is being fueled by rising obesity and diabetes rates world-wide and by the pressure on countries to reduce health-care costs, researchers and analysts say. It is estimated that the world-wide market for blood glucose self-monitoring devices will reach $12.2 billion in 2017, up from $8.9 billion in 2010 and $6.2 billion in 2003, according to a report published earlier this year by research firm GlobalData.
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