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Pfizer is weighing sale of $2 billion-women's health portfolio

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Pfizer Inc is reviewing options including a sale of its women's health portfolio as the US pharmaceutical giant seeks to focus on developing treatments with higher growth potential, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

[HONG KONG] Pfizer Inc is reviewing options including a sale of its women's health portfolio as the US pharmaceutical giant seeks to focus on developing treatments with higher growth potential, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The drugmaker is working with financial advisers to gauge the interest of potential buyers, the people said, asking not to be identified because the deliberations are private. A sale of the division, which has annual sales of roughly US$1.2 billion, could fetch about US$2 billion and draw bids from both private equity firms and rival pharmaceutical companies, they said.

A spokeswoman for Pfizer said the drugmaker declined to comment on speculation. No final decision has been reached and the company may yet decide to retain the assets, which include menopause treatments such as Premarin, Prempro and Premphase, the people said.

A divestment of the business would mean that Pfizer, which last month narrowed its full-year forecast amid manufacturing challenges within the business that makes its older medicines, is joining Allergan Plc and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd in selling or winding down women's health lines and shifting resources to other parts of their portfolios.

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Allergan Chief Executive Officer Brent Saunders, who has been seeking to sell the firm's women's health and antibiotics divisions, this week said the offers so far have been below what the assets are worth. Last year, Teva opted to sell its women's health division in separate transactions for about US$2.5 billion as it raced to pay down debt.

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