Bausch & Lomb Prepping to Go Public?

Private equity investor Warburg Pincus reportedly is interviewing investment banks about a potential IPO for eye-health product supplier Bausch & Lomb.

Over the past few months, Warburg tried to sell the company for at least $10 billion to operators like Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT), Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ), Merck (NYSE:MRK), Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) and Sanofi (NYSE:SNY). However, the offers came in lower than $9 billion; Warburg took Bausch & Lomb private in 2007 at $4.6 billion.

A public offering might be a better option at this point. In general, the equity markets have been strong as of late, and IPO investors specifically have shown a big appetite for large healthcare deals. For example, Zoetis (NYSE:ZTS) — the animal division spun off by Pfizer — has seen its shares surge 25% since coming public in late January.

According to Bloomberg, people with knowledge of the matter say Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), Citigroup (NYSE:C), Credit Suisse (NYSE:CS), Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) and JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) are on the short list to help with the offering.

Tom Taulli runs the InvestorPlace blog IPO Playbook. He is also the author of “How to Create the Next Facebook” and “High-Profit IPO Strategies: Finding Breakout IPOs for Investors and Traders.” Follow him on Twitter at @ttaulli. As of this writing, he did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.

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