(Bloomberg) -- French drugmaker Sanofi has asked banks to pitch for roles on the separation of its consumer-health business, according to people familiar with the matter, one of the biggest deals likely to happen in Europe this year. 

Banks recently submitted their responses to the request for proposals, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. Sanofi could pick advisers in the coming weeks, the people said. 

The Sanofi unit sells over-the-counter remedies including Gold Bond skin lotions, Phytoxil cough syrups and Icy Hot pain relief gels. Sanofi is considering both a spinoff as well as an outright sale of the operation, and no decision has been made yet, the people said. 

A representative for Sanofi declined to comment on the request for proposals. 

“As announced in October 2023, Sanofi is reviewing potential separation scenarios,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “The most likely path would be through a capital markets transaction, at the earliest in Q4 2024, and by creating a listed entity headquartered in France.”

Sanofi tapped Rothschild & Co. for advice on a separate listing of the business, which could be valued at more than $20 billion, Bloomberg News reported in November, adding that the company could bring on more advisers later. 

Buyout firms including Advent International and Blackstone Inc. have been circling the Sanofi unit, people with knowledge of the matter have said. It has also attracted early interest from CVC Capital Partners, KKR & Co. and Clayton Dubilier & Rice, according to the people. 

Sanofi rose 0.6% to €89.42 at 9:50 a.m. in Paris.

--With assistance from Swetha Gopinath and Tim Loh.

(Updates to add stock move in last paragraph.)

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