Cardinal Health (CAH) put its Chinese operations up for sale, drawing interest from state-backed pharmaceutical firms who could pay up to $1.5 billion for the business, Reuters reported.

Shanghai Pharmaceutical Holding Co Ltd, China Resources Pharmaceutical Group Ltd and Sinopharm Group Co Ltd have each expressed interest in buying Cardinal's China operations. Cardinal is one of China's largest drug distributors.

The Ohio-based company is said to seek an exit from the Chinese market ahead of the country's upcoming drug distribution reform that Cardinal thinks might weigh on its growth. Cardinal has also focused on diversification recently, purchasing Medtronic's (MDT) $6.1 billion medical supplies unit in April.

The first round of bidding for the operations is due around Friday. Cardinal's China business generated over $3.5 billion in revenue last year, up from $3 billion in 2015.

Cardinal stock closed flat Wednesday.

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