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Novartis sells consumer health stake to GSK for $13 billion

A Novartis building in Massachusetts.
Novartis is getting out of the over-the-counter business. Photo: Dominick Reuter / AFP via Getty Images

GlaxoSmithKline is buying out Novartis' 36.5% stake in their joint consumer health business for $13 billion, the companies said Tuesday. The deal will give GlaxoSmithKline full control over the drug companies' over-the-counter products, which include toothpaste brands Aquafresh and Sensodyne as well as several cold and pain medicines.

The big picture: Novartis wants the cash for smaller pharmaceutical acquisitions, like what it did last year with cancer drug maker Advanced Accelerator Applications. For GSK, the move comes just after it pulled out of the auction for Pfizer's consumer health business.