Consumer goods giant Unilever signaled on Monday (January 17) it would pursue a deal for GlaxoSmithKline‘s (GSK) consumer healthcare business, calling it a “strong strategic fit” after its £50 billion offer was refused.
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 later this year.
“GSK Consumer Healthcare would be a strong strategic fit,” Unilever said in a statement as it unveiled a strategy update in the wake of the weekend’s takeover news.
Unilever said it was “committed to accelerating the company’s growth and repositioning the portfolio into higher growth categories.
“As a result of the reporting of Unilever’s interest in GSK Consumer Healthcare, we are today bringing forward a planned update, setting out the strategic direction that the company is pursuing,” Unilever said.
Unilever said its “future strategic direction lies in materially expanding its presence in health, beauty and hygiene”.
GSK’s consumer healthcare division, in which US pharmaceuticals company Pfizer owns a 32 per cent 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.
Unilever, which wants to expand its Health, Beauty and Hygiene operations, owns brands including Lifebuoy soap, Sunsilk shampoo and SmartyPants vitamins.