Cardinal Health Inc. is exploring a potential sale of its nuclear medicine business as part of a larger review of its strategy and operations, according to people familiar with the matter.
The Dublin, Ohio-based drug distributor is working with advisers to scope out interest in the unit, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter isn’t public. Several private equity firms are mulling offers and the business could fetch a value of more than $1 billion in a sale, some of the people said.
A final decision hasn’t been made and Cardinal could still decide to keep the unit, which makes radioactive agents and drugs that doctors use to diagnose and treat diseases like cancer, the people said.
A Cardinal representative declined to comment.
Cardinal Health said in September it would review its strategy, portfolio, capital-allocation plans and operations after activist investor Elliott Investment Management took a stake in the company. The two firms announced a cooperation agreement that saw Elliott’s Steven Barg join the company’s board. Elliott had a 0.8% stake in the company as of Dec. 31, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Cardinal, with a market value of about $19 billion after a 25% gain in its shares over the past year, gets most of its revenue distributing drugs to hospitals and pharmacies.
The company faced allegations that it played a role in supplying excessive amounts of deadly opioids to communities across the US. It was among top drug distributors including McKesson Corp. and AmerisourceBergen Corp. that agreed to settle the majority of lawsuits filed by states and local governments, while fighting others at trial.
Its chief executive officer, Mike Kaufmann, stepped down Sept. 1 after three decades at the firm and was replaced by Chief Financial Officer Jason Hollar.
Health-care dealmaking has remained relatively robust against a broader drop off in mergers and acquisitions activity this year. The value of transactions in the sector has fallen just 15% in 2023 to $91.4 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That compares with a near 50% slump in global dealmaking, the data show.
Medical devicemaker Medtronic Plc is in the process of spinning off its patient-monitoring and respiratory-intervention businesses — another example of a major health-care manufacturer looking to narrow its focus on its most lucrative activities.