German drugmaker Bayer is in talks to sell its diabetes devices division but a sale is not imminent, two sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.
Bayer is making a second attempt to sell the Contour blood glucose-meter business, which had annual sales of 722 million euros ($819 million) in 2013, as it overhauls its business to focus on margin-rich healthcare sectors.
KKR-backed Panasonic Healthcare Holdings has been in talks with Bayer over the diabetes devices division for some time, but final bids are some weeks off, one source with direct knowledge of the matter said.
The U.S. private equity firm owns 80 percent of Panasonic Healthcare and Panasonic Corp owns 20 percent.
Panasonic Healthcare, KKR and Bayer all declined to comment.
Bloomberg reported on Thursday that a sale to Panasonic Healthcare, which could be valued at between 1 billion and 2 billion euros, could be announced as soon as Friday.
Bayer had tried to find a buyer for the business in 2012 as the industry grappled with increased competition and reimbursement pressures due to tight public healthcare budgets but it failed to generate sufficient interest from potential suitors, sources said at the time.
Panasonic Healthcare, with its emphasis on personalized healthcare and technology, is seen as a good fit for Contour.
Bayer also plans to list its plastics business on the stock market to free up money for investments and acquisitions in healthcare, veterinary drugs and crop protection products.
(Reporting by Ludwig Burger and Arno Schuetze. Additional reporting by Gregory Roumeliotis in New York, Teppei Kasai and Junko Fujita in Tokyo and Frank Siebelt in Frankfurt; Writing by Georgina Prodhan; Editing by Edwina Gibbs and Jane Merriman)