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Unilever confirms interest in GSK to acquire its consumer goods arm

By Ruchi Upadhyay 
Updated Date

Mumbai: Consumer goods giant Unilever (ULVR.L) said it had approached GlaxoSmithKline (GSK.L) about buying the pharmaceutical group’s consumer goods arm, after a newspaper reported that 50 billion-pound ($68.4 billion) offer was turned down.

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Unilever, which has been under fire from some investors for the group’s underperforming share price, confirmed the approach about a potential acquisition of the business in a statement on Saturday.

“GSK Consumer Healthcare is a leader in the attractive consumer health space and would be a strong strategic fit as Unilever continues to re-shape its portfolio,” it said.

“There can be no certainty that any agreement will be reached.”

GSK did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Earlier, Britain’s Sunday Times said the Unilever bid for the business was worth roughly 50 billion pounds, and had been rejected as too low by GSK and Pfizer (PFE.N), which owns a minority stake in the division.

The approach by Unilever, which owns brands such as Dove soap and Marmite, for Glaxo’s portfolio of household brands including Panadol painkillers and Sensodyne toothpaste was understood to have been unsolicited, it added.

Unilever’s bid did not include any takeover premium or recognition of synergies, the newspaper said. It was not clear whether Unilever would make a higher offer, it added.

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