Report: 20 bidders eye AstraTech buy

Reuters is reporting that about 20 parties are interested in acquiring AstraTech, the medical device and dental care division of AstraZeneca. The pharma company has sent out information to a number of med tech and private equity firms and expects to eliminate about a dozen unqualified bidders through early screening.

AstraTech's 2010 revenues topped $535 million. Its device business focuses mainly on urology products and its dental division is the world's third-biggest dental implant company. AstraZeneca has invited bidders to make offers on one or both of the businesses; together, the unit is expected to raise $2 billion. "The conversations are ongoing, and we are going through the strategic review process as we speak," a company spokeswoman told Reuters.

Unlike many rival drugmakers, AstraZeneca has chosen to stay focused on drugs rather than diversify its business into other markets. AstraTech is on the auction block because the pharma company wants to increase returns to shareholders even as it faces a string of patent expirations over the next several years.

- here's the Reuters report