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Two buyout firms vie for patch maker LTS Lohmann-sources

FRANKFURT, Nov 25 (Reuters) - The bidding for German skin patch maker LTS Lohmann has turned into a two-way race between buyout firms Wendel and Nordic Capital, valuing the target at about 1.2 billion euros ($1.6 billion), two people familiar with the matter said.

Nordic Capital may be looking to combine LTS with another skin patch maker it agreed to buy last month. Nordic at the time teamed up with Avista Capital Partners to acquire Swiss generic drugmaker Acino, which makes a contraceptive skin patch for Bayer.

The sources added that private equity house EQT and Japan's Hisamitsu Pharmaceutical are no longer being considered as suitors by LTS Lohmann's owners, which include drug major Novartis.

The interest from Blackstone, which had been looking to combine LTS with its drug contract manufacturing subsidiary Catalent, has cooled, the sources also said. KKR, which had 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 for comment.