Jan 18, 2022 - Economy & Business

Unilever not deterred by rejection of $68B bid for GSK's consumer unit

Illustration of a cash register with glowing red health pluses displayed on the screen.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Unilever said it will continue to pursue a takeover of GlaxoSmithKline's consumer unit, which includes Advil painkillers and Sensodyne toothpaste, after being rejected on three bids — the last of which was worth around $68 billion.

Why it matters: This is all about two corporate giants looking to restructure.

  • GSK last summer announced plans to spin out the consumer assets, following activist investor pressure to focus more on pharma.
  • Unilever, meanwhile, will soon reveal a new strategic plan that may include divestitures of some lower-margin businesses (e.g., food, where its brands include Marmite, Hellmann’s and Ben & Jerry's), moves that were enabled by last year's change from a dual nationality to U.K.-only structure.

State of play: GSK said the Unilever bid undervalues the business, which it still plans to take public later this year.

  • Reuters, however, reports that GSK would listen to offers above $81 billion.
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