Unilever still pursuing GSK consumer brands: Bloomberg
Food group Unilever is still interested in acquiring the consumer division of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), which makes Advil painkillers and Sensodyne toothpaste, among other things. The company previously attempted to separate the part from GSK, but a bid of allegedly 50 billion pounds, converted about 60 billion euros, was not enough.
Unilever explained in a statement that the GSK division clearly fits with the group's future plans, which increasingly focus on health, beauty, and hygiene. On the other side of the possible takeover of GSK's consumer division is that Unilever wants to accelerate the farewell to brands that no longer fit with the strategy. This is also necessary to raise money for acquisitions.
Unilever previously confirmed standing on GSK's doorstep with a bag of money to acquire the consumer division. However, GSK's board of directors and pharmaceutical company Pfizer, which has a minority interest in GSK, found the offer too low.
A takeover of the GSK consumer division would be the largest ever for Unilever. It also fits with the ambition of CEO Alan Jope, who, unlike his predecessor Paul Polman, would like to make larger and bolder acquisitions. In the event of a takeover, Unilever could also sell some GSK brands to third parties, experts said.
Insiders reported to news agency Bloomberg that the company was already talking with banks about additional financing for a higher offer. The company said nothing about this in the statement.
GSK plans to stand its consumer division on its own legs this year and float it on the stock exchange. Analysts now estimate the value of the branch at around 48 billion pounds, but GSK is holding an investor day in March, and information revealed then may adjust the valuation.
Unilever was significantly lower on the Amsterdam stock exchange on Monday as investors processed the news of the food company's continued interest in the GSK consumer division. Unilever fell more than 5 percent in the AEX. GSK rose over 5 percent in London.
Reporting by ANP