Factbox-GSK's consumer healthcare business coveted by Unilever

·2 min read
View of GlaxoSmithKline headquarters in London

(Reuters) - Unilever signalled on Monday it would pursue a deal for GlaxoSmithKline's consumer healthcare business, calling it a "strong strategic fit" after its 50-billion-pound ($68.4 billion) offer was rebuffed.

GSK confirmed on Saturday that it had rejected three approaches from the Dove-soap maker, adding it intended to stick to its own plan to spin off the business as a separate company on the London Stock Exchange this year.

Following are details of the GSK business.


GSK's consumer healthcare division, in which U.S. pharmaceuticals company Pfizer owns a 32% stake, includes brands such as Sensodyne and parodontax toothpaste, pain relief treatments Advil, Voltaren and Panadol, Otrivin nasal spray, cold and flu medicine Theraflu and Centrum vitamins.

GSK and Pfizer folded together their consumer health businesses in a deal completed in 2019.

GSK had struck a $13 billion deal the previous year to buy full control of its consumer health venture with Swiss drugs group Novartis.

Unilever, which wants to expand its Health, Beauty and Hygiene operations, owns brands including Lifebuoy soap, Sunsilk shampoo and SmartyPants vitamins.


GSK describes itself as one of the world's leading over-the-counter (OTC) healthcare companies with number one positions in markets including the United States, India and Germany.

GSK also points to strong growth prospects in the 150 billion pound consumer healthcare sector, given an increased focus on health and wellness and significant demand from an ageing population and emerging middle class.

Its rivals include Johnson & Johnson, Bayer and Sanofi.


The business generated sales of 10 billion pounds ($13.7 billion) in 2020.

GSK, whose two other main divisions are pharmaceuticals and vaccines, had turnover of 34 billion pounds that year.

GSK said it is confident that the consumer healthcare business can deliver organic annual sales growth of 4-6% over the medium term.


Dave Lewis, former chief executive of British supermarket group Tesco, has been appointed to chair the GSK business when it is spun off. Lewis worked at Unilever from 1987-2014, taking on a number of senior roles.

Brian McNamara will be its chief executive, a position he has held since 2016 within the business as part of GSK.

The demerged company is planning to build a new headquarters at Weybridge in southern England.

($1 = 0.7314 pounds)

(Writing by Keith Weir and David Evans; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)