Drugmaker Mundipharma International Ltd，owned by the billionaire American Sackler family, has kicked off the sale of its China unit in a deal that could fetch more than $1 billion, people familiar with the situation told Reuters.
Mundipharma has invited a select group of potential buyers, including private equity firms and local and international pharmaceutical companies, to bid for the asset, said the people.
Initial bids are due by the end of May, said one of them.
Mundipharma hired Deutsche Bank last year to explore a sale of itself and some individual businesses. It decided to run a standalone sale process for its China business earlier this year, the people said.
Mundipharma did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Deutsche Bank declined to comment. The people declined to be named as the information is confidential.
Based in Cambridge, United Kingdom, Mundipharma has a presence in 120 countries. It had $2 billion in global sales from drugs for pain management and supportive care, diabetes, oncology and respiratory diseases, among others, its website (www.mundipharma.com) showed.
Mundipharma launched its China business in 1993 via a high-profile signing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People on Tiananmen Square.
It said on the website it has more than 1,500 employees in China and its Beijing factory is the biggest maker of narcotic and psychoactive drugs in the country. Painkiller OxyContin is one of the Chinese unit‘s core products.
The plan to sell Mundipharma China comes as the Sacklers have offered a $4.3 billion settlement for another of their drug companies, Purdue Pharma LP, to resolve sprawling opioid litigations in the United States.
Purdue, which also makes OxyContin, filed for bankruptcy in September 2019 in the face of nearly 3,000 lawsuits accusing the company of fuelling the national opioid crisis through deceptive marketing. It filed its bankruptcy plan in March.
The Sacklers had proposed to use at least $1.5 billion from a sale of Mundipharma for the Purdue settlement.