GlaxoSmithKline Rejects $68B Unilever Bid

The company said the bids "fundamentally undervalued" its consumer healthcare division.

The offices of pharmaceutical firm GlaxoSmithKline, London, April 20, 2009.
The offices of pharmaceutical firm GlaxoSmithKline, London, April 20, 2009.
AP Photo/Sang Tan, File

LONDON (AP) — The pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline said Saturday it has rejected an unsolicited 50 billion-pound ($68.4 billion) bid from Unilever for its consumer healthcare goods unit, a joint venture it controls in a partnership with Pfizer.

The London-based company said in a statement posted to its website that a series of three bids made by Unilever last year — the last on Dec. 20 — were all rejected “on the basis that they fundamentally undervalued” the unit and its future prospects.

Both GlaxoSmithKline and Unilever confirmed that an acquisition offer was made following a report in Britain’s Sunday Times. In a brief statement on its website, Unilever said â€śGSK Consumer Healthcare is a leader in the attractive consumer health space and would be a strong strategic fit as Unilever continues to re-shape its portfolio. There can be no certainty that any agreement will be reached.”

GSK has been planning to spin off the unit — known for products including the painkiller Advil, Sensodyne toothpaste and Tums — in mid-2022. After integrating the consumer health businesses of Novartis (2015) and Pfizer (2019), GSK said it attained annual sales of 9.6 billion pounds ($13.1 billion) in 2021.

Consumer goods conglomerate Unilever sells a wide assortment of consumer products from Hellmann’s mayonnaise to Lipton tea and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. Its best-known personal care brands include Dove soap and Rexona deodorant.

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