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Report: Stada, private equity funds join bid for Bristol's French unit

German pharmaceutical company Stada Arzneimittel AG and European private equity funds BC Partners, CVC Capital Partners Ltd. and PAI Partners are joining the race to acquire UPSA SAS, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.'s French over-the-counter drugs business, Reuters reported Oct. 8.

UPSA, which manufactures painkillers Dafalgan and Efferalgan, could potentially fetch up to €1 billion, according to the Reuters report, which cited sources familiar with the matter. The unit generated €425 million in sales in 2017.

One of Reuters' sources claimed that Canonsburg, Pa.-based maker of generic drugs Mylan NV and French pharmaceutical group Pierre Fabre SA were also among those seeking to buy the unit.

Deutsche Bank and Jefferies, which were engaged by Bristol to facilitate the auction, reportedly tapped consumer groups The Procter & Gamble Co. and U.K.'s Reckitt Benckiser Group PLC, along with Pfizer Inc. and Johnson & Johnson, to participate in the bidding process. However, it was unclear if they joined the acquisition race, the sources added. The auction reportedly had an Oct. 5 deadline.

The potential sale is part of Bristol-Myers' efforts to focus on high-margin prescription drugs, especially on its immuno-oncology franchise, Reuters reported.