May 16, 2019 / 5:35 PM / 9 days ago

Japan's Takeda expects binding offers for Latam business by end of May -sources

SAO PAULO, May 16 (Reuters) - Japan's Takeda Pharmaceutical Co expects to receive binding offers for its Latin American business by the end of May, three sources with knowledge of the matter said.

Brazilian pharmaceutical group EMS is considered the front-runner in the process, but Blackstone-backed Brazilian investment firm Patria Investments may also deliver a bid, sources added asking for anonymity as discussions are still private.

Private equity firms such as Advent International Corp and CVC Capital Partners, and strategic bidders such as Brazilian pharmaceutical company Eurofarma, have analyzed the asset, but are not expected to deliver binding offers to the investment banking unit of Bank of America, which is Takeda's advisor.

EMS, Patria, Advent, CVC and Bank of America declined to comment. Takeda did not immediately comment.

Latin America represents around 4% of Takeda's revenue. The company sells in the region vaccines, oncology, gastroenterology and over-the-counter products. Takeda expects the business to fetch around $1 billion, the sources added.

A fourth source with knowledge of the matter said EMS is very interested in the Latin American operations after having acquired last year from Takeda its Brazil's Multilab unit, located in the southern region of the country.

Patria, in which Blackstone Group LP has a 40 percent stake, owns in Brazil Natulab, a pharmaceutical company specialized in over-the-counter drugs and vitamins.

Takeda Pharmaceutical has been selling assets after the $59 billion purchase of Shire Plc and targets $10 billion in divestments to cut its debt. The company predicted this week a loss due to costs associated with the acquisition.

Earlier this month, Takeda agreed to sell its dry eye drug Xiidra to Swiss drugmaker Novartis for up to $5.3 billion, and TachoSil, a surgical patch for bleeding control, to Johnson & Johnson's for $400 million.

Reporting by Tatiana Bautzer Editing by Nick Zieminski

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