Bristol-Myers to take Evansville division public

Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. said today it is planning an initial public offering for its Evansville-based baby formula division, Mead Johnson Nutritionals.

The New York pharmaceutical giant would sell no more than 20 percent of Mead Johnson, however, retaining an equity interest of at least 80 percent.

A registration statement is to be filed by the end of the year.

Mead Johnson is best-known for its dominant baby formula brand, Enfamil.

Last month The Financial Times reported that Bristol-Myers was quietly seeking potential bidders for Mead Johnson, whose value was estimated at $7 billion to $9 billion. The company has 5,000 employees and sales of about $2.6 billion.

The newspaper said companies including PepsiCo., Nestle and H.J. Hines were approached.

But Bristol-Myers said today that after “extensively considering” strategic options, “management believes this plan will allow Mead Johnson … to implement its growth plans, increase shareholder value, and maintain its important financial contribution to Bristol-Myers.”

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