J&J kicks off $5 bln clinical diagnostics unit sale -sources

NEW YORK, Sept 6 Fri Sep 6, 2013 1:24pm EDT

NEW YORK, Sept 6 (Reuters) - Johnson & Johnson has launched a sale process for its Ortho Clinical Diagnostics unit, which makes blood screening devices and tests and could fetch around $5 billion, three people familiar with the matter said on Friday.

J&J has asked JPMorgan Chase & Co to run the sale and is preparing to send detailed financial information in coming weeks to potential buyers, including some of the world's largest private equity firms, the people said.

Early estimates suggest the unit's earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization are between $400 million and $500 million, suggesting a possible valuation of roughly $5 billion, the people said.

The people asked not to be identified discussing details of the process. J&J declined to comment, while a JPMorgan spokeswoman had no immediate comment.

Healthcare conglomerate J&J said in January it would explore strategic alternatives for the unit and cautioned that the process could take anywhere from about 12 to 24 months.

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