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17 Jan 2022 | 07:22

Unilever says GSK consumer arm 'strategic fit'; Flags restructure plans

(Sharecast News) - Consumer goods giant Unilever on Monday said the consumer healthcare arm of GSK was a "strong strategic fit" for the company, despite having three offers rejected, and flagged a restructure of the group later this month.

The unscheduled update came after GSK confirmed over the weekend it had rejected a £50bn offer for the consumer healthcare division which owns the Panadol and Nicorette brands.

"Consumer Health is a highly complementary category for Unilever, with good potential for synergies and a number of routes to build scale," Unilever said in a statement.

"The acquisition would create scale and a growth platform for the combined portfolio in the US, China, and India, with further opportunities in other emerging markets. We believe that this would be an attractive and synergistic combination for the shareholders of Unilever, which would also deliver value and certainty for the shareholders of GSK and Pfizer."

Analysts said the bid represented a modest premium to current value. The latest offer, made on December 20, was made up of £41.7bn in cash and £8.3bn in Unilever shares.

GSK said the offer "fundamentally undervalued" the consumer business and its future prospects, adding that it was still committed to separate the business from its medical arm and float it on the London Stock Exchange. Valuations by analysts have ranged from £45bn to £48bn.

Unilever added that it would announce a "major initiative to enhance our performance" later this month.

"After a comprehensive review of our organisation structure, we intend to move away from our existing matrix to an operating model that will drive greater agility, improve category focus, and strengthen accountability."
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