STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - British private equity group 3i (III.L) is in discussions to sell pharmaceutical company Xellia which could fetch around 750 million euros ($974.66 million), two sources familiar with the matter said.
The sources said talks were at an advanced stage and that a deal with a strategic buyer could happen soon. One of the people said Linklaters was acting as legal adviser to 3i. The sources declined to be identified because the discussions were private.
A 3i spokesperson was not available for comment. Linklaters did not immediately return a request for comment.
3i has closed offices, cut staff and prepared asset sales in an extensive restructuring programme under new CEO Simon Borrows who took the helm in May last year. It is aiming to reduce debt to below 1 billion pounds by June, from 1.2 billion at the end of 2012.
3i has already made several exits this year, including selling plastic equipment maker Mold-Masters for $963 million. It is also looking to sell ferry group Scandlines SCNDL.UL, which it owns together with Allianz Capital Partners. (ALVG.DE)
Xellia is based in Oslo and employs more than 850 people, with production facilities in Norway, Denmark, Hungary and China, according to its website. It focuses on anti-infective treatments and has sales in over 70 countries.
Xellia was created in 2008 when 3i bought NYSE-listed Alpharma's active pharmaceutical ingredients business for 258 million euros.
($1 = 0.7695 euros)
(Reporting by Sven Nordenstam and Mia Shanley; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)