GSK expects to divest noncore OTC brands by late 2011, company says

PHILADELPHIA — GlaxoSmithKline expects to close the deal on the divestiture of several over-the-counter brands that were identified in April, the company stated Tuesday as part of its second-quarter earnings results.

"The divestment of noncore OTC assets in the [United States] and Europe will further aid our strategy to accelerate growth and increase the focus of our Consumer Healthcare business," GSK stated. "We are making progress to divest these products by late 2011, subject to realizing appropriate value for shareholders."

The update drove speculation as to who is in the running for GSK's second-tier brands, which includes, in the U.S. market, analgesic powders BC and Goody's, and the only OTC weight-loss product, Alli. According to a Reuters report published Thursday morning, private equity firms Advent, Cinven and Warburg Pincus are among the most likely bidders. Rival consumer healthcare divisions are not necessarily in the running, Reuters reported. Advent is considered the front-runner because it counts former GSK CEO Jean-Pierre Garnier among its group of operating partners. Nonbinding bids are due Aug. 8.

The total divestiture, which includes several European OTC brands, is expected to generate less than $2.1 billion, according to the report, given the uncertainty surrounding Alli — sales in the trendy weight-loss category continue to decline. For the 52 weeks ended April 17, (Alli was identified as a divestiture candidate April 14), Alli sales totaled $60.3 million across food, drug and mass (excluding Walmart), representing a decline of 35.4%.

The full report is available here.

Login or Register to post a comment.