Report: J&J wants Carlyle to snatch up its Ortho Clinical Diagnostics arm

Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) has whittled down the list of bidders for its Ortho Clinical Diagnostics arm down to one. Reuters reports that the consumer, drug and health conglomerate is in final negotiations to seal a deal with Carlyle Group within the next two weeks.

Of course, neither side is talking. But several anonymous sources close to the discussions told Reuters that J&J could fetch approximately $4 billion for the division once it concludes a sale agreement with Carlyle Group, a global private equity outfit. Reuters' scoop also shows that Johnson & Johnson's previously stated plan to pick a winning bidder for Ortho Clinical Diagnostics by the end of 2013 is largely on track.

J&J first got the word out almost a year ago that it wanted to sell Ortho Clinical Diagnostics, a division that sells everything from blood screening equipment to laboratory blood tests that screen for HIV, hepatitis C and heart attack damage. The division isn't tiny, having booked $2.16 billion in sales during 2012. But it's small compared to competition that Reuters notes ranges from Roche ($RHHBY), to Danaher ($DHR), Abbott ($ABT) and Siemens.

J&J executives have wanted Ortho Clinical Diagnostics to grow more robustly than it has, more in line with the rapidly expanding molecular diagnostics sector. Also, as Reuters explained, everything from overseas price controls to government and insurance payment pressures is placing pressure on J&J and other drugmakers to streamline and cut costs.

Going with Carlyle Group means that J&J has declined a reported joint bid from Danaher and Blackstone Group ($BX), among others.

- read the full Reuters story

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