British Unilever immediately on acquisition path: wants to buy consumer branch GSK

Unilever confirms its interest in part of GSK after the British newspaper The Times wrote this morning that the former half-Dutch company has made an unsolicited offer.

Bid too low

Unilever would have offered around 50 billion pounds (60 billion euros) for the maker of Aquafresh toothpaste and Panadol painkillers, among others.

According to The Times, Unilever made its offer at the end of last year, but it was rejected. Both the boards of GSK and Pfizer, which has a minority stake in GSK, thought the offer was too low, according to the newspaper’s sources.

Consumer branch on its own feet

GSK itself announced last year that it wants to make the consumer health branch independent. Among other things, toothpastes, painkillers, vitamins and cold remedies are made there.

The rest of GSK then becomes a typical pharmaceutical. Vaccines and medicines are produced there.

Not sure it will work

GSK’s consumer arm is worth around £48 billion, according to analysts. That is pretty close to Unilever’s offer, but in the case of an acquisition it is common to do something on top of that.

A short response in any case shows that Unilever has certainly not given up hope yet. The company does write that it is not certain that an agreement will be reached.

Moved from the Netherlands

Unilever was a half-Dutch-half-British company until the end of 2020, but decided in 2020 to move forward with one London headquarters and one share class instead of two.

An important reason to simplify the company structure was to make it easier to make acquisitions.

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