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GlaxoSmithKline, Reckitt Benckiser in final lap for Pfizer Inc's unit

Glaxo CEO Emma Walmsley said last month that the company's top priority is the pharmaceutical business

Manuel Baigorri & James Paton & Jared S Hopkins & Ruth David | Bloomberg 

GlaxoSmithKline. Photo: Reuters
GlaxoSmithKline. Photo: Reuters

Plc and Benckiser Group Plc are the only to have submitted non-binding bids for Pfizer Inc’s consumer business after rival candidates walked away, according to people familiar with the matter. Pfizer plans to open a data room for and to start due diligence on the assets before submitting final offers in the next few weeks, the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter is private. French drugmaker Sanofi, Switzerland’s SA and health care giant Johnson & Johnson were among to consider and then decide against bidding for the business, the people said. The deadline for non-binding offers for the business, which makes well-known brands including the pain reliever Advil, ChapStick lip balm and the dietary supplement Centrum, was Feb. 1, the people said. The unit could fetch $15 billion to $20 billion, people familiar with the matter have said. Potential buyers have expressed concerns about stagnant sales at the division as well as the challenge from online competitors such as Inc, people said. Representatives for and declined to comment. A spokesman also said he had no comment. A spokeswoman for wasn’t immediately available to comment.

A spokesman for J&J confirmed that the company had withdrawn from the bidding process and declined to comment further. A spokeswoman for Pfizer said the company is continuing to evaluate a range of options for its consumer healthcare business, including a full or partial separation from Pfizer through a spin-off, sale or other transaction, and it may still opt to keep the business. The company expects to reach a decision in 2018, she said. Pfizer first announced a review of the business in October. A sale would help the U. S. drug giant raise billions of dollars in cash for acquisitions and .streamline operations to focus on other growth areas. Sales at the consumer-products business were little changed in the fourth quarter from a year earlier at $950 million. Full-year sales at the unit advanced by 2 per cent to $3.47 billion. Chief Executive Officer said at a conference in San Francisco last month that the company’s top priority is the pharmaceutical business and that it doesn’t need the Pfizer assets though the unit would be complementary.

First Published: Mon, February 05 2018. 01:37 IST