Bayer AG has a wide range of options to choose from if it truly is looking to unload its Bayer MaterialScience unit, which includes major polycarbonate and polyurethane businesses.
Officials with Bayer, a chemicals and plastics conglomerate based in Leverkusen, Germany, declined to comment on an April 28 report from Bloomberg News that said that the firm is “exploring the sale” of the unit, which has annual sales of about $15.5 billion and employs 14,300 worldwide.
The story added that Bayer wanted to sell BMS to focus on its health care unit. This idea was supported May 6 when Bayer agreed to pay $14.2 billion in cash for the consumer care business of Merck & Co. Inc. That business includes such brands as Claritin, Coppertone and Dr. Scholl's.
According to the April 28 report, a potential BMS sale to German firm Evonik Industries AG fell through. So who else might be willing to pay Bayer's asking price for BMS — which could approach $11 billion?
Selling BMS off in parts to several different buyers is “a strong possibility,” according to Robert Bauman, president of the Polymer Consulting International consulting firm in Spring, Texas.
“There are very few companies with the capital to buy it all and it's much more specialized,” Bauman said. “This would tend to rule out the commodity plastics companies, but you never know.”
Market analyst Phil Karig listed Styron LLC as a company that “might take a serious look at the Bayer assets.” Berwyn, Pa.-based Styron is owned by private equity firm Bain & Co. In 2013, Styron posted sales of $5.3 billion and has announced plans for an initial public offering.