Bristol-Myers seeking buyer for Mexico, Brazil brands-WSJ

Thu Jan 31, 2013 9:10pm EST

Jan 31 (Reuters) - Bristol-Myers Squibb Co is seeking a buyer for some of its brands in Mexico and Brazil with any sale possible bringing in as much as $750 million, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

A small number of U.S. and European drug and consumer companies are still bidding for the brands and a deal could materialize as early as the next two to three weeks, the Journal said.

The brands together generate sales of $100 million to $150 million annually, but the winning bidder may pay around five times that number, one person told the business daily.

Officials with Bristol could not be reached by Reuters for comment.

Bristol, which has a market value of about $60 billion, scaled back its full-year earnings forecast last week following setbacks for some of its key experimental drugs, including a hepatitis C drug that caused a patient's death and hospitalized several others who were being tested.

The expiration of patents on some of Bristol's big-selling drugs such as the Plavix blood clot preventer and Avapro blood pressure treatment has opened them up to generic competition, also hurting Bristol's sales.

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