Dr Scholl’s was founded more than 110 years ago, and recorded sales of $234 million last year.
Bayer has agreed to sell its Dr Scholl’s footcare business to private equity group Yellow Wood Partners for $585 million (€522 million), the latest in a series of disposals aimed at sharpening the German group’s focus in the wake of its troubled Monsanto takeover.
Dr Scholl’s was put on the block last year, as part of a restructuring drive that saw Bayer announce 12,000 job losses and the sale of its animal health operations and the sun protection business Coppertone.
Bayer shares have declined sharply over the past year, in response to a string of rulings in US courts that found a link between the plaintiffs’ cancer and one of the group’s best-selling pesticides, Roundup.
The glyphosate-based weed killer became part of Bayer’s portfolio as a result of its takeover of Monsanto last year.
The sale of businesses like Dr Scholl’s is intended to give the chemicals and pharmaceuticals group more focus, and to allay investor concerns over the potential legal bill arising from the US litigation. US juries have awarded more than $2 billion in glyphosate-related damages so far, and there are more than 13,000 cases still awaiting trial.
Bayer sold Coppertone to German cosmetics group Beiersdorf for $550 million in May. It has yet to conclude the sale of its animal health business, which is expected to fetch up to $8 billion.