Valeant explores sale of eye-surgery equipment business worth around $2.5 bn

Canada's Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc is exploring a sale of its eye-surgery equipment business, which could be valued around $2.5 billion, the Wall Street Journal yesterday reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

Reacting to the report, a Valeant spokesman said, ''While Valeant management evaluates strategic alternatives for all opportunities related to core and non-core business units in the best interest of our shareholders and stakeholders, the Bausch & Lomb franchise and its dedicated team are a critical part of our business.''

The move comes three years after Valeant acquired Bausch & Lomb for $8.7 billion. (See: Valeant to acquire Bausch & Lomb for $8.7 bn)

In May, Reuters reported that Valeant, one of the most aggressive acquirers in the global pharmaceuticals industry, is talking to investment banks to review its options after buyout firms and other companies showed interest in some of its units.

Valeant, based in Ontario, was in talks with investment banks that include Goldman Sachs Group and Centerview Partners as part of its plan to sell noncore assets in order to trim its $30-billion debt.

The Bausch & Lomb acquisition gave Valeant well-known contact lenses, drugs to treat eye conditions such as glaucoma, pharmaceuticals, intraocular lenses and other eye surgery products.

Its Bausch & Lomb unit has a broad portfolio of eye health products, including well-known prescription and OTC brands like Besivance, Lotemax, Ocuvite and PreserVision; vision care brands Biotrue ONEday, PureVision, ReNu and Boston; and surgical brands enVista, Storz, Stellars and Victus.

The sale process is in an early stage and Valeant may still decide not to sell the business, the reported said.

The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that Valeant was in advanced talks to sell its Salix Pharmaceuticals Ltd stomach-drug business to Japan's Takeda Pharmaceutical for $10 billion (See: Valeant Pharmaceuticals in discussion with Takeda for Salix sale: report).

Valeant had fought a competing bid from Endo International to acquire Irish specialty healthcare Salix in 2014.