Unilever eyeing GSK’s consumer healthcare arm

Posted on Jan 15, 2022 at 2:48 PMUpdated on Jan 15, 2022 at 6:10 PM

The Unilever group has confirmed its interest in the British multinational GlaxoSmithKline, more specifically for the consumer health arm of the pharmaceutical group. The British, global giant in food, hygiene and home maintenance, has “approached GSK and Pfizer about a possible acquisition” of GSK Consumer Healthcare, the statement said.

“GSK Consumer Healthcare is a leader in the attractive consumer healthcare space and would be a very good strategic fit as Unilever continues to reshape its portfolio,” the UK group said in a statement. The newspaper “Sunday Times” mentions an amount of 50 billion pounds, or 60 billion euros. This branch of GSK notably markets the toothpaste brand Sensodyne, or even Advil and Voltaren.

Offer rejected

GlaxoSmithKline announced in a press release that it rejected Unilever’s offer on the grounds that it “fundamentally undervalues” the business and its future prospects. GSK added that it had received three offers from Unilever: the latest was December 20 and includes a component of £41.7 billion in cash and £8.3 billion in Unilever shares. According to the “Sunday Times”, the offer was also considered too low by Pfizer, which holds a minority stake in the consumer health branch of the British pharmaceutical group. It is not certain that Unilever will raise its offer, adds the newspaper.

According to Bloomberg, GSK CEO Emma Walmsley is under pressure from investors, including activist fund Elliott Investment Management, to be more open to a possible sale of the consumer division.

For his part, Unilever CEO Alan Jope is also under pressure from some investors due to the company’s poor performance on the stock market lately. Terry Smith, one of Unilever’s main shareholders, criticized the group for promoting the sustainability of certain references to the detriment of the company’s economic performance.

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