3M sheds pharma unit for $2.1 billion

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3M has agreed to sell-off its global pharmaceuticals business, which makes dermatology, women’s health, cardiology and respiratory treatments, for $2.1 billion. The 3M Pharmaceuticals division’s most well-known brands include Aldara for the treatment of genital warts, Maxair Autohaler for asthma and MetroGel-Vaginal, indicated in the treatment of bacterial vaginosis. The sell-off of the unit will take place in a three-part transaction, 3M said. Graceway pharmaceuticals will acquire 3M’s pharmaceutical operations in the US, Canada and Latin America for $875 million. Swedish drugs group Meda said it would buy 3M’s pharmaceutical business in Europe for $857 million. Australian private equity firms Ironbridge Capital and Archer Capital agreed to acquire 3M’s pharma operation in the Asia-Pacific region, including Australia and South Africa, for $349 million. Of the 1,050 employees in the division, about 70% would receive employment opportunities with the acquiring companies, 3M said. Sales at the 3M unit were flat in 2005 at $4 billion. In April, 3M said it was exploring the sale of its drugs business, stating its growth would be better suited to the direction of a “dedicated pharmaceutical industry company.”

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