New York, NY, United States (4E) – The Carlyle Group gained exclusive rights to hold talks in acquiring Johnson & Johnson’s blood-testing business, in what could lead to a $4bn transaction, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.
Carlyle has been aggressively looking for acquisitions in the healthcare space like competitors Blackstone and KKR. The firm already owns drug trials company PPD and nursing home chain Manorcare.
The firm would get more than $1bn of the cash needed for a deal from its latest leveraged buyout fund, which officially closed in November at around $13bn, according to the people familiar with the matter.
The deal may still fall apart, but if it pushes through, it would go into Carlyle’s flagship U.S. buyout fund under group co-founder Bill Conway, who is a respected investor in the mega buyout world.
Carlyle became the lead bidder following an auction process for Johnson & Johnson’s division, which had drawn interest from both corporations and private equity bidders. The healthcare giant has been seeking to sell its slow-growing businesses as it tries to focus on higher-growth segments.