Pfizer weighing options to sell or spin-off its consumer health division

Pfizer, one of the most prolific companies in the M&A market this year, has been toying with this question since some time. Many drugmakers have opted to streamline their varied portfolios so as to manage them better and boost profitability.

According to sources familiar with the matter at hand, Pfizer Inc. is evaluating its option to potentially divest or spin-off its consumer health division which could fetch as much as $14 billion.

If Pfizer were to exit from the consumer health business, it would be one of the biggest corporate moves since it abandoned a $160 billion deal to buy Allergan, earlier this year.

According to the sources, the deliberations are as yet at a preliminary stage and the New York-based pharmaceutical company could ultimately opt to retain the business.

Sources have preferred the cover of anonymity since they were not authorized to speak to the media.

When asked to respond to requests for comments, Pfizer declined to comment.

In early 2014, Pfizer, had openly begun planning for a possible split, as a means to simply its portfolio. However, earlier this year, it decided against the move. If split, it had envision, one company retaining its patent-protected drug business while the other contains its generic business.

During Pfizer’s last quarterly earnings call, Ian Read, Pfizer’s CEO, mentioned that the company was continuing to evaluate whether its consumer business, along with other business lines, was worth more in or outside the company.

Its consumer business had annual sales of about $3.5 billion.

In an otherwise sluggish year for the merger and acquisition scene for pharmaceuticals, Pfizer has been one of most active acquirers: early in the year it acquired Anacor Pharmaceuticals, a dermatology company, for $5.2 billion, and in August it acquired Medivation, a cancer drug manufacturer for $14 billion.

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