Unilever Strikes Out in Effort to Buy GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Health Business-at Least So Far

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A Unilever building in the Netherlands.

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Photo by John Thies/AFP via Getty Images

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GlaxoSmithKline confirmed on Saturday that it has received and rejected three unsolicited offers from Unilever to acquire the GSK consumer healthcare business, including one that approaches the end of 2021, worth 50 billion pounds ($68.4 billion). .

Unilever (ticker: UL)’s latest offer was 50 billion pounds—41.7 billion pounds ($57 billion) in cash and 8.3 billion pounds (11.4 billion) in stock—which it did on December 21, A statement from GSK said, It is not clear when London-based Unilever made the other two proposals.

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GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) said it remains focused on maximizing value for shareholders and has carefully evaluated each of Unilever’s offerings. The statement said it rebuked all three because “they fundamentally underestimated the consumer healthcare business and its future prospects.”

Unilever, whose products include Dove soap, Vaseline, Hellman’s mayonnaise and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, confirmed that it has contacted GSK and Pfizer (PFE), the entity regarding a potential purchase of the GSK consumer healthcare business. owns a minority stake in , The acquisition of GSK Consumer Healthcare unit will give it a presence in over-the-counter medicines, The Wall Street Journal noted,

“GSK Consumer Healthcare is a leader in the lucrative consumer health space and will be a strong strategic fit as Unilever continues to reshape its portfolio,” Unilever said in a statement on Saturday,

“There is no certainty that there will be an agreement,” Unilever said.

Pfizer did not immediately return a message for comment. Times of London It was previously reported that Unilever GSK offered 50 billion pounds for the business.

In August 2019, Pfizer (PFE) and GlaxoSmithKline GSK Consumer Healthcare created When they merged their consumer healthcare businesses into a joint venture. The majority of the unit is owned by GSK, which holds 68%. Pfizer holds a 32 percent stake. The business includes products such as Chapstick Lip Balm, Sensodyne Toothpaste, Centrum Vitamins and Advil Pain Reliever. It generated annual sales of 9.6 billion pounds ($13.1 billion) in 2021.

In 2019 GlaxoSmithKline also laid out its plans for shareholders to divest its consumer healthcare business through a demerger of its equity interest and a listing of a joint venture on the UK equity market. At that time, GSK had said that it could sell all or part of its stake in the joint venture through an initial public offering. Last June, Glaxo said it planned Complete the demerger by mid-2022, It reiterated those plans on Saturday.

That means GlaxoSmithKline has been working to spinoff its consumer healthcare business for nearly three years. Analysts have valued the unit at £45 billion. GlaxoSmithKline has come under pressure from activist hedge fund Elliott Advisors, which has urged GSK to consider an outright sale of the consumer business, the Journal said.

Write to Louisa Beltran at [email protected]

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