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Reports: Pfizer Likely To Pick Buyer For Infant-nutrition Unit Next Week

Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc. (PFE) is close to a deal to sell its infant-nutrition unit and an announcement could be made as early as next week, reports said Tuesday.

Switzerland-based Nestle SA (NSTR.L, NSRGY.PK) is said to be likely to win the bid for the unit that makes baby formula and maternal supplements, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal which said the deal price was at least $9 billion.

Pfizer had received bids from Nestle and France's Danone SA (DANOY.PK), each worth about $10 billion, Bloomberg said. Danone made a joint bid with Mead Johnson Nutrition Co. (MJN) and a third bidder is no longer in the running.

The report added that Danone said it is not likely to win the bid. Pfizer is said to be keeping Danone in the bidding process.

It was reported in February that Nestle and Danone were trying to overcome antitrust problems in the deal.

Meanwhile, Pfizer is said to be planning an initial public offering for its animal health unit. The drugmaker has hired JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Corp. and Morgan Stanley to aid in the transaction.

PFE closed Tuesday's regular trade at $22.31, up $0.33, on 29.1 million shares.

Nestle closed up by 1.33 percent at 56.75 Swiss francs on a volume of 6 million shares.

Danone settled in Paris higher by 2.90 percent at 53.08 euros on 3.36 million shares.

by RTT Staff Writer

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