Bloomberg, citing sources "with knowledge of the matter", reported yesterday that French dairy giant Danone has discussed a stock market listing of its medical nutrition division in 2015 after months of talks to sell the business outright.
With sales of €1.3bn (US$1.62bn) in 2013, medical nutrition is the smallest of Danone's four business units.
It has been widely reported in the last year that Danone is trying to sell the division, which manufactures products for those weakened by illness or chronic conditions.
Its portfolio includes liquid food for hospital patients unable to eat solids, food supplements for elderly people with failing appetites, and products for those that suffer from allergies.
Potential suitors, which have reportedly included Nestlé, Abbott Laboratories, Hospira, and Fresenius, have, however, failed to meet Danone's €3bn (US$3.75bn) asking price, said Bloomberg.
Approached by DairyReporter.com regarding the reports, Paris-based Danone declined to comment.
"We do not comment [on] this subject, nor Bloomberg's article," a Danone spokesperson said.
Rumors have been rife in recent months that Danone will use the proceeds of the sale of its medical nutrition business to beef up its €4.3bn (US$5.37bn) infant nutrition business and reduce its reliance on fresh dairy.
Last month, Danone rubbished reports its board had targeted Illinois-based Mead Johnson Nutrition, the world's second largest infant nutrition manufacturer, for acquisition.