Drug manufacturer Novartis AG (NVS) - Get Report has hired Centerview Partners LLC to help evaluate options for its dermatology unit, including a potential sale, Reuters reported on Thursday, Nov. 2.

The report came on the heels of a Bloomberg article on Wednesday stating that Switzerland-headquartered Novartis was mulling a sale of the dermatology generics drug business, which is primarily based in the U.S. The unit could be valued at between $1 billion to $1.5 billion,  Bloomberg reported.

A Novartis representative said the company does not comment on speculation.

Novartis' American depository receipts closed at $82.78 on Thursday, up 0.01%.

On Oct. 24, Novartis unveiled third-quarter results that topped estimates and said a possible spin off of its Alcon eyecare division was not likely before 2019.

Novartis reported sales of $12.4 billion, slightly higher than analysts' expectations, while core operating income was up 1% in constant currencies at $2.4 billion.

Net income was up 7% in the three months to the end of September to $2.08 billion from last year's $1.95 billion. Earnings per share grew 10% to $0.89 from $0.81 a year ago.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet had expected net income for the quarter of $2.02 billion and sales of $12.34 billion.

Novartis on Oct. 30 said it was buying French drugmaker Advanced Accelerator Applications SA  (AAAP) for $3.9 billion in a deal to strengthen its oncology businesses.

—Lisa Botter contributed to this report

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