1/4/2013 7:41:22 AM
Abbott Laboratories (ABT), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) and Sanofi have shown interest in Bausch & Lomb Inc., the eye-care company Warburg Pincus LLC is seeking to sell, said people with knowledge of the matter. Warburg, working with Goldman Sachs Group Inc., is giving interested parties access to its financial data and seeking first-round bids by month’s end, said the people, who asked not to be named because the process is private. Warburg is seeking at least $10 billion for the business, these people said. Goldman Sachs contacted some prospective bidders right before Christmas with information about Bausch & Lomb, said one of the people. A sale at $10 billion, including debt, would give New York- based Warburg more than a 200 percent gain on its $1.7 billion equity investment in Bausch & Lomb, whose products include contact lenses and eye-care solution, a person familiar with the matter said. That type of windfall may help Warburg win over investors as Co-Presidents Joseph Landy and Charles Kaye seek participants for a new investment fund with a $12 billion target. Abbott, which officially spun out its drug business earlier this month, has retained Morgan Stanley as a financial adviser to consider a purchase of Bausch & Lomb, said two of the people. French pharmaceutical company Sanofi is working with Evercore Partners Inc. (EVR) on a possible bid, said another person. Representatives at Bausch & Lomb, Warburg, Goldman Sachs, Abbott, Sanofi (SAN), Johnson & Johnson, Evercore and Morgan Stanley declined to comment on the process. Other Suitors? Other parties considering bids and receiving confidential financial information on Bausch & Lomb include Merck & Co. and Pfizer Inc. (PFE), said three of the people. Representatives at Merck and Pfizer declined to comment.