April 19, 2009 / 11:38 PM / 10 years ago

GlaxoSmithKline nears $3 bln deal for Stiefel-WSJ

(Adds details, background)

NEW YORK, April 19 (Reuters) - GlaxoSmithKline PLC (GSK.L) is close to a deal to buy U.S. skincare specialist Stiefel Laboratories for about $3 billion, the Wall Street Journal said on its website on Sunday, citing unnamed sources.

The deal for Stiefel, which is partly owned by private equity firm Blackstone Group (BX.N), is expected to be announced on Monday, the report said, adding there is still a chance it could fall apart.

A person familiar with the matter told Reuters a month ago that Stiefel was considering selling itself and had asked Blackstone to seek offers for the business.

Stiefel is the world’s largest independent dermatology company and is viewed as a potentially attractive asset for major drugmakers, industry experts have said.

The source had told Reuters that Blackstone and the company’s family owners were seeking a speedy sale.

The Wall Street Journal, which had first reported news of the possible sale last month, said the business had drawn interest from a number of major drug companies, including Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N) and Novartis AG NOVN.VX. (Reporting by Jui Chakravorty Das; Editing by Jan Paschal)

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