(Reuters) - Johnson & Johnson (NYS:JNJ) said on Thursday it will sell its ortho clinical diagnostics unit to private equity firm Carlyle Group (CG.O) for $4.15 billion (2.53 billion pounds), a year after announcing it was considering spinning off or selling the slow-growing business.
The companies said in separate statements that, if approved, the deal should close in the middle of 2014.
Reuters reported in December that Carlyle was nearing an agreement to buy Johnson & Johnson's ortho clinical diagnostics unit for about $4 billion. It beat the Blackstone Group (NYS:BX), which had made a bid with conglomerate Danaher Corp (NYS:DHR), sources said at that time.
"This transaction is a result of our disciplined approach to portfolio management in order to achieve the greatest value for Johnson & Johnson," Johnson & Johnson Chief Executive Officer Alex Gorsky said in a statement.
In January 2013, J&J said it was considering the sale or spin-off of the unit, whose products include equipment for laboratory diagnostics and blood transfusion screening. The unit was ranked fifth among competitors based on sales. J&J's businesses typically rank first or second in their markets.
Shares of Johnson & Johnson were up 0.2 percent in premarket trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
(Reporting by Caroline Humer in New York and Vrinda Manocha in Bangalore; Editing by Bernadette Baum)