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Unilever says GSK consumer arm ‘strong strategic fit’ for business

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A customer selects bar of Dove soap, a Unilever product, at a Sainsbury’s supermarket in London, U.K.
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Dove soap maker Unilever signaled on Monday it would pursue a deal for GlaxoSmithKline’s consumer health business, calling it a “strong strategic fit” after its 50-billion-pound approach ($68.4 billion) was rejected.

The update comes after GSK confirmed over the weekend that it had rejected the Unilever offer for its consumer healthcare business, which is home to brands such as Sensodyne toothpaste and Emergen-C vitamin supplement.

“The acquisition would create scale and a growth platform for the combined portfolio in the U.S., China and India, with further opportunities in other emerging markets,” Unilever said, pointing to synergies in the oral care and vitamin supplements business.

Unilever held talks with banks about additional financing for a potential sweetened offer for GSK’s consumer products division, Bloomberg News reported on Sunday, citing people familiar with the matter.

Unilever, which is set to announce an initiative later this month to strengthen its business, said on Monday it was committed to “strict financial discipline” for any acquisitions.

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