18 Apr 2012 --- Pfizer Inc is in the closing stages of a deal to sell its baby formula business to Nestle SA for at least $9 billion, according to a source in the Wall Street Journal.
The publication spoke to people close to the deal, who explained that the deal that Nestle is offering the company appears to have outstripped the joint bid put together by Danone and Mead Johnson Nutrition Co.
The deal could be announced as soon as next week.
The WSJ source warns that the sales process is ongoing and could feasibly fall apart.
If the deal is reached, it would fit with a recent strategy that has seen Pfizer renewing its focus upon its core business of developing new medicines. Last year saw the company selling its drug capsule coating business to Kohlberg Kravis Roberts for $2.4 billion.
Pfizer announced in the summer of last year that it would explore a sale of its infant nutrition business, kicking off this process that drew interest from a number of corporate buyers and private equity firms.
Pfizer's infant nutrition business sells baby formula and maternal supplements. The unit, which reported roughly $2.1 billion in revenue last year, manufactures infant formula products around the world and is considered to be among Pfizer’s faster-growing business sectors.
It generates over 70 percent of its sales in emerging markets, with over a quarter coming from China, where the $6 billion market is anticipated to double by 2016.
While the company does not match Nestlé for market share, the nutrition unit is sufficiently big that a deal between the two may still present some potential antitrust objections for the Swiss company.