Johnson & Johnson’s Jettisoned Blood Testing Unit Gets a Buyer

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Several sources, including Reuters and the New York Times, reported Monday that the private equity firm the Carlyle Group (NASDAQ:CG) is currently in exclusive talks regarding Johnson & Johnson’s (NYSE:JNJ) blood testing unit. If the Carlyle Group is successful, it’s estimated that the deal could be worth $4 billion, a source who spoke to the New York Times said.

But the Carlyle Group’s bid isn’t a done deal yet, and a source who spoke to the New York Times cautioned that it’s still possible for the negotiations to fall through. A more precise idea of the price being offered by Carlyle is unavailable, as the sales proceedings are confidential.

The Carlyle Group has succeeded over rival bidders for the blood testing unit during an auction process which drew bids from corporate and private equity hopefuls, the New York Times reports; most recently the Carlyle Group prevailed over the Blackstone Group, which was acting in partnership with Danaher Corp., an industrial and healthcare conglomerate, for a shot at a deal with Johnson & Johnson.

The Johnson & Johnson unit in question is a smaller entity in the industry, behind larger companies like Siemens AG, Roche Holding AG, Abbott Laboratories and Danaher. The unit manufactures blood screening equipment as well as laboratory blood tests, such as those that can screen for HIV and Hepatitis C, or determine a person’s blood type, Reuters reports.

The deal wouldn’t be the first for the Carlyle Group, says the New York Times, which has landed several similar healthcare industry deals in the past few years, such as $3.9 billion takeover in partnership with Hellman & Friedman that lead to the acquisition of the clinical drug testing company Pharmaceutical Product Development. The group also acquired the nursing home operator, ManorCare, for $6.3 billion in a 2007 deal.

Johnson & Johnson’s decision to jettison it’s blood testing unit doesn’t come as a surprise, writes Reuters, who noted that other drugmakers are casting off businesses in order to help cut costs in the wake of pressure from insurers and the government, as well as price controls overseas. A deal between the Carlyle Group and Johnson & Johnson is expected to be reached within the next two weeks, Reuters reports.

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