GSK finalizes $36B Haleon spin-off

GSK plc (LSE/NYSE: GSK) has demerged from its consumer healthcare division to create the publicly-traded company Haleon Group.

Haleon is now one of the world’s largest consumer healthcare companies, while GSK will focus on growing its prescription drug and vaccine businesses. 

The company announced the “Haleon” name in February.  

In hindsight, GSK would have fared better if it had accepted Unilever’s offer to buy GSK’s consumer healthcare division for £50 billion (about $68 billion). That sum also included £10 billion worth of debt. 

 In January, GSK rebuffed Unilever’s advances.  

Haleon shares are now traded under the ticker HLN on the London Stock Exchange. On the day of opening, HLN shares dropped 3.18% to £316.60

GSK anticipates that Haleon shares will also commence trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker HLN on July 22. 

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Unilever gives up hunt for GSK consumer unit

Unilever (LON:ULVR) recently offered to buy GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK; NYSE:GSK) consumer healthcare unit for £50 billion (about $68 billion).

After facing pushback from analysts, investors and credit rating agencies about the deal, Unilever has abandoned the pursuit.

In an announcement, the company said it would not raise its offer above £50 billion, noting that it was committed to “strict financial discipline.”

The GSK consumer unit, of which Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) owns 32%, manufactures products ranging from toothpaste to Tylenol to vitamins.

GSK has said in the past that it was mulling spinning off the consumer division.

Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) have made similar moves.

While GSK aims to focus on higher-margin drugs, Unilever is looking to rekindle growth after the pandemic has reduced demand for its products for hygiene and packaged food and refreshments.

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