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On The Block

Pfizer Inc. is considering options for its Capsugel subsidiary, which is part of its diversified businesses segment. This could mean the sale of the provider of hard capsules that are used to deliver drugs. Pfizer reported revenue of $50 billion in 2009. (Capsugel accounted for $740 million.) Morgan Stanley is helping with the review. Pfizer expects to announce the review’s results by the end of the first quarter of 2011. “The decision to consider strategic alternatives for Capsugel is part of Pfizer’s strategy to optimize its business mix and leverage its competitive strengths to deliver value for shareholders,” said Senior Vice President and Group President Cavan Redmond.

Harvest Natural Resources Inc. hired Bank of America Merrill Lynch to provide advisory services to help with the Houston-based company’s efforts to explore strategic alternatives. The energy company’s review will evaluate the option of selling assets and the entire company. It will also look at potential mergers and other opportunities. Harvest Natural’s principal operations are in Venezuela, but it also has assets in the U.S., Indonesia, West Africa, China and Oman. For the latest second quarter, Harvest Natural posted a loss of $296,000 on total revenue of $2.9 million.

SemBioSys Genetics Inc. hired Deloitte & Touche Corporate Finance Canada Inc. to help with its review of strategic alternatives. The biotechnology concern plans will consider the sale of the entire company or a merger. The Calgary, Alberta-based company also intends to evaluate the option of accelerating partnerships for the insulin and athlerosclerosis drugs in its development program. SemBioSys is working to complete an asset sale, a restructuring and recapitalization or an orderly wind down of its business. The company believes it has sufficient assets to satisfy obligations, but it won’t be able to continue existing business or assume more commitments without additional financing.

Cypress Bioscience Inc. rejected Ramius V&O Acquisition LLC’s $4.25-a-share acquisition offer because Cypress Bioscience views the bid as grossly undervaluing its current business and future prospects. Cypress Bioscience plans to explore strategic alternatives with help from financial advisers. It plans to consider the monetization of certain assets or other transaction. The San Diego, Calif.-based drug company will also evaluate a sale or strategic combination with third parties. For the second quarter, Cypress Bioscience’s losses narrowed to about $1.8 million from $8.6 million a year earlier as total revenue climbed to $9.1 million from $5.8 million.