Published On: Sat, Mar 24th, 2018

GSK, Reckitt Benckiser pull out from $20bn race to acquire Pfizer’s consumer healthcare business

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Pharma acquisition news : In a blow to Pfizer’s plans to offload its consumer healthcare business for about $20 billion, both Reckitt Benckiser and now GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) have pulled out from potential acquisition talks with the .

Pfizer’s consumer healthcare business comprises a number of over-the-counter (OTC) products that are sold across in over 90 countries, which had earned revenue of $950 million in 2017. For the record, the overall revenue of Pfizer in 2017 stood at $13.7 billion.

The top categories of Pfizer’s consumer health business are pain management, dietary supplements, respiratory and personal care. Its products include Centrum multivitamins, Advil painkillers, and Caltrate supplement apart from other non-prescription drugs, nutritional and vitamins products.

The US pharma company announced last year that it was mulling strategic alternatives for its consumer health business. It revealed that it could go in for a complete or partial separation or even retention of the business, and expected to make a decision during 2018.

Pfizer Headquarters in New York

Pfizer Headquarters in . Photo courtesy of Coolcaesar/

Earlier, this week, consumer goods company Reckitt Benckiser said that it had ended discussions with Pfizer about pursuing the latter’s consumer healthcare business. This left GSK a great chance to acquire the Pfizer business. However, the British pharmaceutical company has also withdrawn from the race of snapping up the OTC product portfolio of Pfizer.

Bloomberg, in February, had written that only Reckitt Benckiser and GSK had made non-binding bids in an attempt to acquire the Pfizer consumer healthcare business. Other major companies like Sanofi, Nestle and did show interest early on in going for the acquisition, but did not move forward in making non-binding bids.

On Friday, Emma Walmsley – CEO of GSK revealed the decision of her company of not pursuing the transaction with Pfizer, by saying: “While we will continue to review opportunities that may accelerate our strategy, they must meet our criteria for returns and not compromise our priorities for capital allocation.”

Earlier, Reckitt Benckiser dropped out saying that the transaction wasn’t in line with its acquisition criteria.

Rakesh Kapoor – CEO of Reckitt Benckiser said: “Our priority remains organic growth, including the completion of the integration of Mead Johnson Nutrition and creating further value from reorganising into two new business units – Health and Hygiene Home.

“We always approach inorganic growth opportunities in a rigorous, disciplined, and financially responsible manner to ensure long term value creation for shareholders. An acquisition for the whole Pfizer consumer health business did not fit our acquisition criteria and an acquisition of part of the business was not possible.”

Not so long ago, Reckitt Benckiser had made a huge transaction by acquiring Mead Johnson Nutrition, an infant formula manufacturer for $16.6 billion.

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