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Report: Sanofi considering Bayer's glucose meter unit

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Don't close the book on Bayer's rumored sale of its blood glucose meter business just yet. After sources said the drug giant was halting its offer, The Wall Street Journal reports that Sanofi ($SNY) remains in talks with the German company over a deal that could be worth about $1.5 billion.

Citing those ever-available "people familiar with the matter," the WSJ says the two are still arguing over a final price, and a deal, if one is even reached, is likely weeks away. Neither company commented on the matter, and Bayer, for its part, hasn't said a thing about the issue since May, when news first leaked of the possible sale.

Bayer's meter business pulls in about $1.3 billion each year, according to analyst projections, and sources told Reuters back in May that the drugmaker wanted to get out of the medical devices game and focus on units more synergistic with its mainstay offerings.

Sanofi's interest remains after other bidders were scared off by the asking price, which could be as high as $2.6 billion, according to Financial Times Deutschland. Among those said to have sniffed and passed are Abbott Laboratories ($ABT), Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) and Panasonic ($PC), according to the WSJ.

But that doesn't mean another suitor won't emerge, the WSJ notes, as the market for blood glucose meters has swelled along with waistlines and rates of diabetes around the world. The market could reach up to $12.2 billion in 2017, from $8.9 billion in 2010, the paper reports, and an acquisition could fit well with Sanofi's diabetes unit, which markets the blockbuster insulin Lantus.

- here's the WSJ story (sub. req.)

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