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Sagent Pharmaceuticals explores sale -sources

By Carl O'Donnell

Jan 13 (Reuters) - Sagent Pharmaceuticals Inc, a U.S. generic life sciences company focusing on injectable drugs, is considering a sale of the company as part of an exploration of strategic alternatives, according to people familiar with the matter.

Sagent is working with investment bank Perella Weinberg Partners, which has reached out to other companies and private equity firms to solicit interest in a possible deal, the people said this week.

The sources cautioned that a transaction is not certain. They asked not to be identified because the sale process is confidential. Sagent did not reply to a request for comment, while Perella Weinberg declined to comment.

A deal would mark another instance of a small generics company seeking a sale in the face of increased pressure from payers, as drug companies increasingly need scale to negotiate more favorable contracts.

Sagent's stock price has declined dramatically in the past two years, tumbling by more than 60 percent since the middle of 2014. The company's market capitalization is a little more than $200 million.

In December, Schaumburg, Illinois-based Sagent announced plans to divest its Chinese unit, which it acquired in 2013 after purchasing the remaining half of a joint venture with Chengdu Kanghong Pharma.

(Reporting by Carl O'Donnell in San Francisco; Editing by Matthew Lewis)