Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. said on Friday it will sell its ConvaTec unit to private equity firms Nordic Capital and Avista Capital Partners for $4.1 billion.

The sale of ConvaTec, the therapy and surgical care unit, will allow Bristol to take a new direction towards the research and development of biopharmaceuticals which have greater profit than wound care. The firm also said last December it would put on sale an important quantity of its nonpharmaceutical assets.

These decisions support our next-generation BioPharma strategy. We will now have additional financial resources to expedite that strategy, said James M. Cornelius, Bristol-Myers Chairman and Chief Executive in a statement.

The ConvaTec agreement is subject to adjustments based on the unit's audited 2007 financial statements and closing capital and its supposed to be completed during the third quarter.

Bristol-Myers sold its medical imaging business to Avista for $525 million in January and is planning to sell about 10 percent but not more than 20 percent of its Mead Johnson nutritional business.

The company is facing growth in generic competition and expiration of important patents in the near future fact that may shrink its sales. At the end of 2007 Bristol announced it will cut about 4,300 employees or 10 percent of its work force and close half of its 38 manufacturing plants as a move to save $1.5 billion annually by 2010.

Shares of Bristol-Myers closed 1.79 percent up to $23.35 on the New York Stock Exchange on Friday.