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Report: Taisho nears deal to buy Bristol-Myers' French over-the-counter unit

Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and Taisho Pharmaceutical Holdings Co. Ltd. is close to reaching a deal over UPSA SAS, Bristol-Myers' French over-the-counter subsidiary, Bloomberg News reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

Tokyo-based Taisho Pharmaceutical is looking to acquire Bristol-Myers' consumer health business for $1.6 billion, the sources noted. An agreement could be disclosed as soon as the week of Dec. 17.

A spokeswoman for New York-based Bristol-Myers told Bloomberg that the drugmaker is still examining options for the strategic review of UPSA, whose portfolio includes pain and flu therapies Dafalgan, Efferalgan and Fervex. The company aims to sell the business as part of streamlining efforts to focus global operations on key growth areas.

Taisho's core OTC products include energy drinks, cold remedies and hair regrowth treatments. In 2009, Taisho acquired Bristol-Myers' Asia-Pacific OTC business, excluding Japan and China, for $310 million, Bloomberg added.