Glaxo, Reckitt Are Said To Be Only Bidders For Pfizer's Consumer Unit
GlaxoSmithKline and Reckitt Benckiser are the only companies to have submitted non-binding bids for Pfizer’s consumer business after rival candidates walked away, according to people familiar with the matter.
Pfizer plans to open a data room for Glaxo and Reckitt to start due diligence on the assets before submitting final offers in the next few weeks, the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter is private.
French drug-maker Sanofi, Nestlé, and health-care giant Johnson & Johnson were among companies to consider, and then decide against, bidding for the business, the people said.
The deadline for non-binding offers for the business, which makes well-known brands including the pain reliever Advil, ChapStick lip balm and the dietary supplement Centrum, was 1 February, the people said.
The unit could fetch $15 billion to $20 billion, people familiar with the matter have said. Potential buyers have expressed concerns about stagnant sales at the division, as well as the challenge from online competitors such as Amazon, the people said.
Representatives for Glaxo and Reckitt declined to comment. A Sanofi spokesman also said that he had no comment. A spokeswoman for Nestlé wasn’t immediately available to comment. A spokesman for J&J confirmed that the company had withdrawn from the bidding process and declined to comment further.
A spokeswoman for Pfizer said that the company is continuing to evaluate a range of options for its consumer health-care business, including a full or partial separation from Pfizer through a spin-off, sale or other transaction, and it may still opt to keep the business.
The company expects to reach a decision in 2018, she said.
Pfizer first announced a review of the business in October. A sale would help the US drug giant raise billions of dollars in cash for acquisitions and streamline operations to focus on other growth areas.
Sales at the consumer-products business were little changed in the fourth quarter from a year earlier, at $950 million. Full-year sales at the unit advanced by 2%, to $3.47 billion.
Glaxo chief executive officer Emma Walmsley said at a conference in San Francisco last month that the company’s top priority is the pharmaceutical business, and that it doesn’t need the Pfizer assets, although the unit would be complementary.