* Pacific Equity Partners, Carlyle Group to buy iNova unit
* Deal expected to close in H2 2017
* Valeant’s U.S.-listed shares rise 3.5 pct premarket (Adds details)
June 8 (Reuters) - Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc said it would sell its iNova Pharmaceuticals business for $930 million, as Chief Executive Officer Joseph Papa steps up efforts to slash the embattled Canadian drugmaker’s huge debt pile.
The company’s U.S.-listed shares were up about 3.5 percent at $12.60 in premarket trading on Thursday.
INova, which Valeant bought in 2011 from Australian private equity firms Archer Capital and Ironbridge, will be sold to a company jointly owned by Pacific Equity Partners and The Carlyle Group LP, Valeant said.
Valeant’s long-term debt climbed to more than $30 billion after a furious spate of deal-making under former CEO Mike Pearson, whom Papa replaced in April last year.
Pearson’s acquisition spree sent shares from the $20 range to $257 in 2015, before the stock went into a tailspin as Valeant’s pricing strategy and ties to a specialty pharmacy led to broader political and regulatory scrutiny.
Under Papa’s stewardship, the company is focusing on its dermatology, eye care and gastrointestinal units while pruning other assets to repay its towering debt, which stood at $28.54 billion as of March 31.
Last month, Papa told shareholders that the company is on pace to meet its target of repaying $5 billion in debt between August 2016 and February 2018.
The deal to buy iNova — which markets prescription and over-the-counter products focused on weight and pain management, cardiology and cough and cold — is expected to close in the second half of this year.
Goldman Sachs & Co was Valeant’s financial adviser, while Baker McKenzie was its legal adviser.
Bloomberg on Tuesday reported that Valeant was involved in talks to sell its Bausch & Lomb unit’s surgical products business to Germany’s Carl Zeiss Meditec AG . (Reporting by Divya Grover in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)