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Teva explores sale of assets to ease debt burden

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. is looking to divest some assets including its Medis business and a few respiratory treatment assets, Bloomberg News reported Aug. 9, citing "people familiar with the matter."

A representative for the company confirmed the news to Bloomberg. The news outlet's sources noted that the company has not made a final decision regarding the assets, and considerations are at an early stage.

The Israeli drugmaker is looking at every opportunity to focus its business and streamline operations, processes and structure, the news outlet reported, citing an emailed statement.

Teva is considering the sales in an attempt to preserve its credit rating and trim its debt.

The Iceland-based Medis unit develops generics for other companies. According to Bloomberg, it could fetch between $500 million and $1 billion, depending on the assets, while the respiratory business could be valued anywhere between $500 million and $2 billion, depending on the treatments included and the value of drugs under development.

The assets could draw the interest of bidders in the pharmaceutical industry as well as private equity firms, according to Bloomberg's sources.

Acquisition of Allergan plc's generics business in 2016 saddled the drugmaker with debt. The maker of generic drugs, which recently slashed its dividend by 75%, is also selling its women's health and European oncology and pain treatments.

Moody's recently downgraded the senior unsecured ratings of Teva and its units, citing concerns over its U.S. generics business and the threat of generic competition for its multiple sclerosis treatment Copaxone.