US infant nutrition firm Mead Johnson and French food group Danone, the owner of Aptamil baby formula, is reportedly set to table a joint bid for the baby food business of pharma giant Pfizer.

Reuters said yesterday (23 February) that Pfizer had given Mead Johnson and Danone permission to make a joint offer for its infant nutrition division.

Citing sources, the two companies will compete with Nestle in the next round of the auction for the business, which takes place on 5 March.

Speaking to just-food, a spokesperson for Mead Johnson declined to comment on what he called "marketplace speculation or rumours".

Officials at Danone and Nestle could not be reached for immediate comment.

Reuters' claims followed a Bloomberg report earlier this week that said Danone was weighing up a bid with Mead Johnson.

Pfizer announced last July that it was considering the "strategic alternatives" for the unit, which included a sale, spin-off "or other transaction".

Its infant nutrition business generated revenues of around $1.9bn in 2010. It sells products including infant formulas and growing-up milks in over 60 countries. It operates from five plants in Ireland, China, Singapore, the Philippines and Mexico.