Bristol-Myers to Split Off Mead Johnson

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Bristol-Myers ( BMY) plans to split off Mead Johnson Nutrition, its unit that makes infant formula, in a move to concentrate on its biopharmaceutical business.

"This marks the latest step in our company's transformation into a BioPharma leader," said James Cornelius, chairman and CEO of Bristol-Myers, in a statement. "By executing our health care divestment strategy, we have sharpened our BioPharma focus, improved the overall financial strength of the company and supported our ability to pursue strategic business development opportunities."

Bristol-Myers said it expects the deal to add to earnings beginning in 2010.

In an exchange offer, Bristol-Myers Squibb shareholders can exchange some, none or all of their shares of Bristol-Myers Squibb common stock for shares of Mead Johnson common stock on a tax-free basis. For each $1 of Bristol-Myers stock swapped, shareholders will get about $1.11 worth of Mead shares.

Bristol-Myers decided to spin off Mead Johnson in 2008 to focus on buying biotech drugs and shift its efforts into biopharmaceuticals. Mead, which makes products under the Enfamil brand, went public in February, raising $680 million after expenses.

"Now is the right time to move forward with a split-off given the excellent performance of Mead Johnson since the IPO earlier this year and our confidence in the current and future performance of our biopharmaceuticals business," said Cornelius. "With a successful execution of this split-off, we fully consider ourselves a BioPharma company."

Bristol-Myers owns 170 million shares of Mead Johnson Class A and Class B common stock. Based on the $45.25 closing price of Mead shares on Friday, the value of the shares being split off would total $7.69 billion.

-- Reported by Joseph Woelfel in New York .

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