Unilever won’t top $68B bid for GSK consumer healthcare unit

Associated Press

London – Unilever, the maker of Vaseline skin care products and Dove soap, says it won’t increase a 50 billion-pound ($68.2 billion) offer for GlaxoSmithKline’s consumer healthcare unit that was rejected last week.

London-based GSK said Saturday that the bid “fundamentally undervalued” the unit. The offer, which included 41.7 billion pounds in cash and Unilever shares valued at 8.3 billion pounds, was the latest of three unsolicited approaches from Unilever, GSK said in a statement.

Unilever responded late Wednesday, saying it wouldn’t increase the bid.

“We note the recently shared financial assumptions from the current owners of GSK Consumer Healthcare and have determined that it does not change our view on fundamental value,” London-based Unilever said in a statement.

After rejecting the Unilever offer, GSK said it remains focused on plans to spin off the consumer unit into a new independent company by the middle of this year. GSK Consumer Healthcare, which makes Sensodyne toothpaste, Advil pain relievers and Centrum vitamins, was formed by the merger of GSK’s consumer business with those of Novartis and Pfizer, which still holds a stake in the unit.

GSK Consumer Healthcare accounts for less than 30% of the parent company’s total revenue, with the rest generated by pharmaceuticals and vaccines.

Shares of GSK rose as much as 5% on Monday after reports of the Unilever bid. The stock has declined over the past two days, dropping 2% to 1,666.4 pence on Wednesday in London trading.