Pfizer plans to sell its 32% stake in GSK’s consumer health venture, Haleon, after its spinoff into an independent company is finalized in July.
Despite previous signals from Pfizer that it indicated to divest its ownership, GSK had said in February that Pfizer would retain the stake and appoint two members to the Haleon board, while GSK would relinquish representation. GSK has a 68% controlling interest in Haleon, which is the world’s largest consumer health business and home to brands like Sensodyne and Advil.
According to the latest statement, published Wednesday in an investor prospectus, Pfizer will continue to own its 32% interest in Haleon after the demerger and listing on the London stock exchange. The company added that it intends to exit its position “in a disciplined fashion.”
GSK is spinning off the business so that it can focus on pharmaceuticals and vaccines, but the change means it won’t have steady revenue from over-the-counter medicines to fall back on any longer. The consumer revenue has provided a relatively reliable counterbalance to the risky nature of prescription drug development.
Last December GSK rejected multiple bids by CPG giant Unilever — the last one for 50 billion pounds — to buy the consumer unit.
If it secures a 50 billion pound valuation, Haleon would be one of the largest listings by market cap on the London exchange in at least two decades, Reuters noted. The business is poised to deliver medium-term annual organic revenue growth of 4% to 6% — which is above market, GSK reported.
In response to pressure from activist investors, GSK has moved to shore up its drug pipeline. The most recent deal was its $3.3 billion purchase of vaccine maker Affinivax, announced Tuesday. It also agreed to acquire oncology drug developer Sierra Oncology for $1.9 billion.