Colgate-Palmolive Co. is among bidders for the consumer arm of Nestle SA’s skin-health business, people familiar with the matter said, joining an auction process that’s been dominated by private equity firms.

Colgate and Unilever NV are both bidding for the consumer-focused part of Nestle’s business, which includes brands such as Cetaphil moisturizers and cleansers and the Proactiv acne treatment, the people said, asking not to be identified as the details aren’t public.

L’Oreal SA has dropped out of the auction, the people said. No final decisions have been made and Nestle hasn’t decided whether to sell the medical and consumer businesses separately or as a whole, they said. While Colgate and Unilever are only interested in the consumer business, they may consider partnering with a private equity firm to bid for the entire business, two of the people said.

A consortium that includes Advent International, Cinven and GIC Pte, as well as KKR & Co., EQT Partners and Carlyle Group LP, were among firms brought through to the auction’s second round, people familiar said earlier this month. The entire skin-care business may fetch $8 billion to $10 billion, and Nestle would prefer to sell the unit as a whole, they said.

The remaining operations within skin health include prescription treatments that fill wrinkles and treat acne and other conditions. Many of the private equity bidders are making offers for the entire unit, the people said.

Representatives for Colgate, Nestle, Unilever and L’Oreal declined to comment.

Colgate, better known for toothpaste than skincare, may be looking to bolster the latter business, which has been a boost for sales. Colgate bought PCA Skin and EltaMD in 2017 and the firm said in January that its’ been expanding its professional skincare business into spas and with dermatologists.


Bloomberg’s Corinne Gretler, Tiffany Kary and Aaron Kirchfeld contributed to this report.

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