3M is exploring options for its $300 million drug-delivery business, including a possible sale, according to a Bloomberg News report on Friday.
A spokeswoman for the Maplewood-based company declined to comment on the report and said she had no news to share.
Bloomberg, citing unnamed sources, said 3M hired outside advisers to explore sale options and that the unit could fetch as much as $1 billion if the right buyer is found.
3M makes inhalers for asthmatics, drug delivery patches and other products that direct drugs into patients' bodies. In recent years, 3M has sold units that it no longer considered part of its business core strategy and used money to help pay for expansions in other areas.
Analysts noted that in October 3M closed on its mega $6.7 billion purchase of the wound care products company Acelity. The deal, which included the assumption of $2.4 billion in debt, was the largest in 3M's history.
Acelity's acquisition followed 3M's $2.5 billion purchase of Capital Safety in 2015 and the $2 billion purchase of Scott Safety in 2017. Overall, 3M spent more than $9 billion buying 13 companies during the past six years.
Analysts such as Matt Arnold from Edward Jones noted that Wall Street considered the Acelity deal "expensive," but that investors also acknowledged that 3M gained significant wound care technology and research that the company would not have captured otherwise.
In August, 3M announced the sale of its ballistic protection business, noting that its product lines including bullet-resistant helmets and body armor no longer fit with 3M's core business strategy. In June, 3M announced the sale of its gas- and flame-detection business to Teledyne Technologies for $230 million. A year earlier it sold its fiber-optics telecommunications business for $870 million. In 2017, 3M sold its prisoner electronic-monitoring business to Apax Partners for $200 million and its passport and identity-management business to Gemalto for $850 million.
3M's stock rose $7.10 or 4% per share on Friday to close at $171.47 a share.