British pharma group GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has confirmed it may buy US drug giant Pfizer’s consumer business.
GSK has also been linked to a possible acquisition of German drug-maker Merck.
Answering questions at the release of GSK’s third-quarter results yesterday, CEO Emma Walmsley admitted the possible sale of Pfizer’s $14bn consumer division was on the company’s radar.
'Looking at it'
“We are a world leader in consumer healthcare and have a demonstrated track record of successful integration, so you would expect us to look at any assets that complement our portfolio from a power brand or geographic footprint point of view,” she said.
“We would be looking at it but they only announced the process last week, so it is a little premature and it is not even confirmed for sale, to discuss in any detail if and how.
“We would, in all cases, be very focused on driving shareholder value. That is a conversation we would be having with our partners in the joint venture. One option is that we could have a structure deal but there are other options as well.”
In addition to any possible Pfizer deal, GSK will have the option of buying out its consumer health joint-venture partner Novartis next March.
Leading shareholders told The Sunday Times earlier this year that GSK was preparing an £8bn ($10.3bn) offer for its partner’s 36.5% share.