(Bloomberg) -- Roche Holding AG is considering options for its diabetes-care business including a sale, people familiar with the matter said, following other large drugmakers that have exited the treatment area amid price declines.
Alternatives being weighed also include a partial sale of the business or a spinoff, the people said, asking not to be identified because the deliberations are private. A sale could fetch as much as $5 billion, though the valuation could be affected by pricing pressure in the industry, they said. No final decisions have been made and Roche may decide to keep the unit, the people said. The considerations are preliminary, they said.
A representative for Basel-based Roche declined to comment.
The potential exit of the business would mirror other drugmakers globally. Johnson & Johnson said it was exploring options including a sale, partnerships or joint ventures for its own diabetes-care business, citing significant price declines for the last several years. In 2015, Bayer agreed to sell its diabetes-devices unit to Panasonic Healthcare Co., a joint venture backed by buyout firm KKR & Co., for about 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) to exit a business hobbled by ageing products and price pressure.
Private equity firms and some other medical-device makers could be interested in acquiring some or all of Roche’s business, the people said. The large size may make it difficult to find buyers, making a spinoff an attractive alternative, the people said.
Sales at Roche’s diabetes care unit fell 3 percent to 1.48 billion Swiss francs ($1.5 billion) in the first nine months of 2016 due to continuing U.S. reimbursement cuts, according to its last financial report. The company is scheduled to report full-year earnings on Feb. 1.
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