Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) -- Bayer AG is exploring the sale of its dermatology business, according to people familiar with the matter, as the German drugmaker sells peripheral businesses and pursues the takeover of crop chemicals rival Monsanto Co.

The German company is working with JPMorgan Chase & Co. on the sale, which could fetch more than 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion), said the people, asking not to be identified because talks are private. The process is at an early stage and Bayer could decide against a disposal, they said. Bayer’s dermatology products include the eczema treatment Desonate and Finacea for rosacea.

The business could attract interest from existing makers of skincare products including Nestle SA’s Galderma, Allergan Plc and Almirall SA of Spain, as well as private equity firms, two of the people said. Spokesmen for Bayer and JPMorgan declined to comment as did the representatives for the potential bidders.

Bayer on Monday said it had sweetened its takeover bid for St. Louis-based Monsanto to $56 billion, raising its offer for a second time in its attempt to become the world’s largest producer of seeds and pesticides. The Leverkusen-based firm had previously increased its focus on life sciences by buying Merck & Co.’s over-the-counter medicines business in 2014 and divesting a stake in its plastics unit last year.

--With assistance from Corinne Gretler Charles Penty and Jared S. Hopkins To contact the reporters on this story: Manuel Baigorri in London at mbaigorri@bloomberg.net, Aaron Kirchfeld in London at akirchfeld@bloomberg.net, Naomi Kresge in Berlin at nkresge@bloomberg.net. To contact the editors responsible for this story: Aaron Kirchfeld at akirchfeld@bloomberg.net, Chitra Somayaji, Amy Thomson

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