UK engineer Smiths Group confirmed on Friday it has been in talks to sell its medical division.
The group has been looking to sell the unit after an approach by potential buyers including San Diego-based healthcare business CareFusion, according to reports.
Smiths also rejected an approach by private equity group Apax to buy the division for £2.45bn in 2011, saying it did not reflect the value of the business.
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Its medical division played a role in the first successful IVF treatment in 1978 with its embryo transfer.
In a statement Smiths said it has received a "preliminary approach" for the medical arm.
"This approach may or may not lead to a transaction," the company said.
"Discussions are at an early stage and a further announcement will be made as appropriate."
The division accounted for about a third of the parent group's headline operating profit last year and 28% of the company's £3bn revenues.
Smiths Medical provides devices for hospitals, emergency services, household use and in specialist medical units.
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