Pfizer still weighing sale of OTC business

Pfizer CEO Hank McKinnell is not leaning either way on whether his company will spin-off or sell its consumer products business, he told Reuters last week at the World Economic Forum on East Asia in Tokyo. “We are following two main options. One is a spin-off of the consumer division as an independent company. The other is the sale to those that are interested in acquiring it,” McKinnell said. “We have confirmed by our work in the public markets and the offers we received that there is quite significant untapped potential here and during the third quarter we will be deciding which of these two options we will be going forward with.” Last week, UK drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline was reported to be finalizing a $15 billion bid for Pfizer’s over-the-counter drugs business. Other companies interested in the division include Colgate Palmolive, Bayer and Johnson & Johnson. Pfizer said earlier this year that it would consider selling or spinning off its consumer-products unit, which markets brands including Listerine, Sudafed and Lubriderm and others. The division’s sales rose 10% to $3.8 billion last year as sales of Pfizer’s prescription products fell 4% to $44 billion.