FRANKFURT/LONDON French drug maker Sanofi (SASY.PA) has hired advisers for the sale of its European generic drug business, several sources familiar with matter told Reuters, ahead of an auction process which is expected to start after the European summer.
Rothschild [ROT.UL], JP Morgan (JPM.N) and Morgan Stanley (MS.N) have been asked to organize the long-awaited deal which could be worth more than 2 billion euros ($2.2 billion), the sources said.
Bankers have been vying for a mandate for the past 18 months since Sanofi boss Olivier Brandicourt took charge of the French firm and decided to put the business under review.
A spokesman for Sanofi declined to comment. Rothschild, JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley also declined to comment.
France's largest drug maker, which recently worked with Lazard to finalize a $20 billion asset swap deal with German firm Boehringer for Sanofi's Merial animal health arm, said in January it was expecting to complete the sale of the European generics business by the end of 2018.
The company started to disentangle the European generics business from its global operations toward the end of last year, after announcing its plans to sell the unit in October.
(Reporting by Arno Schuetze, Carl O'Donnell, Pamela Barbaglia; Editing by Christoph Steitz)