July 22, 2019 / 2:22 PM / a month ago

Bayer sells Dr. Scholl's footcare brand to Yellow Wood Partners

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Germany’s Bayer (BAYGn.DE) signed a deal on Monday to sell its Dr. Scholl’s footcare brand to U.S. private investment firm Yellow Wood Partners for $585 million, the second of two consumer care products it had put on the block.

FILE PHOTO: A logo of Bayer AG is pictured at the so called 'Chempark', the main plant and headquarters of German pharmaceutical and chemical maker Bayer AG in Leverkusen, Germany, July 3, 2019. REUTERS/Thilo Schmuelgen/File Photo

Bayer, whose stock has slumped amid lawsuits over an alleged cancer-causing effect of its Roundup weed killer, struck a deal in May to sell U.S. sun care brand Coppertone to Nivea maker Beiersdorf (BEIG.DE) for $550 million.

The divestments are part of a wider overhaul unveiled in November by Bayer Chief Executive Werner Baumann, who is under pressure to boost the share price.

Bayer’s Dr. Scholl’s, which generated $234 million in sales last year, is primarily a North American brand. Rival Reckitt Benckiser (RB.L) owns the Scholl footcare business outside North America.

Bayer acquired weed killer Roundup as part of the $63 billion takeover of U.S. seeds and pesticides maker Monsanto last year. The German company has said Roundup is safe to use.

The German group, which is scheduled to release second-quarter results on July 30, is also looking for a new owner of its animal health business, the world’s largest maker of flea and tick control products for pets, which analysts have said could fetch 6 billion to 7 billion euros.

Reuters this month quoted sources familiar with the matter as saying Bayer had approached U.S. drug firm Elanco Animal Health (ELAN.N) about a possible tie-up.

Bayer’s consumer healthcare business, bolstered by the 2014 acquisition of a Merck & Co (MRK.N) division for $14 billion, will focus on remaining brands that require more medical expertise.

The business has faced falling revenues as U.S. consumers switched from established drugstores to online shops.

Boston-based Yellow Wood will create a standalone company for the Dr. Scholl’s consumer brand and it plans to invest in the business to drive growth and profitability, Bayer added.

Reporting by Ludwig Burger; Editing by Michelle Martin and Edmund Blair

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