Two buyout firms vie for patch maker LTS Lohmann-sources

Reuters

FRANKFURT, Nov 25 (Reuters) - The bidding for German skinpatch maker LTS Lohmann has turned into a two-way race betweenbuyout firms Wendel and Nordic Capital, valuing the target atabout 1.2 billion euros ($1.6 billion), two people familiar withthe matter said.

Nordic Capital may be looking to combine LTS with anotherskin patch maker it agreed to buy last month. Nordic at the timeteamed up with Avista Capital Partners to acquire Swiss genericdrugmaker Acino, which makes a contraceptive skin patchfor Bayer.

The sources added that private equity house EQT and Japan'sHisamitsu Pharmaceutical are no longer being consideredas suitors by LTS Lohmann's owners, which include drug majorNovartis.

The interest from Blackstone, which had been lookingto combine LTS with its drug contract manufacturing subsidiaryCatalent, has cooled, the sources also said. KKR, whichhad been seeking to complement its hard capsules maker Capsugel,has also lost interest, they said.

Wendel of France, Nordic Capital of Sweden, EQT, KKR, Hisamitsu and Blackstone declined to comment.

Officials at Novartis were not immediately available forcomment.

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