British consumer products maker Reckitt Benckiser said during a first-quarter business review today that it's moving closer to carving out its struggling pharmaceutical unit and listing it as a separate public company. A strategic review of the unit that was launched last October continues, but a "capital markets solution is emerging as a strong option," Reckitt CFO Adrian Hennah told Reuters.
With a final bid deadline looming, Merck & Co.'s consumer health unit still has several big-name pharma suitors. But Reckitt Benckiser, the Irish consumer specialist, may end up snatching the prize, Bloomberg reports.
Sanofi CEO Chris Viehbacher may be reconsidering his November plans to spend just €1 billion to €2 billion per year on acquisitions. Rumor has it the drug giant is eyeing a bid for Merck's OTC unit, which could sell for up to $12 billion.
Nothing makes analysts happier these days than a prospective spinoff. And with a new chairman stepping in to help conduct the ongoing strategic review of the struggling Reckitt Benckiser pharma unit, some say one could be on the way for the British group.
European antitrust watchdogs have struck again. As Reuters reports, France's competition authority has fined Merck's Schering-Plough unit €15.3 million ($21 million) for a "smear campaign" against generic competitors to Subutex, a drug for opioid addication.
Federal agents reportedly carried boxes of documents out of the Reckitt Benckiser headquarters in Virginia on Tuesday. The officials did not disclose the purpose of the warrant.
We know Reckitt Benckiser is shopping its pharma unit. We also know that Shire is scouting for deals. Does it follow that Shire may bid on RB Pharma? Logically, yes. Practically? Maybe.
Reckitt Benckiser has said the time to weigh options for its pharmaceuticals unit would come after its flagship drug, Suboxone, fell victim to generic competition. That time is now. The British consumer goods group says it's reviewing options for its pharma business, including a possible sale that could grab upwards of $3.2 billion.
The U.K.-based company had petitioned the agency to block the copycat versions on packaging grounds.
Reckitt Benckiser has nabbed Latin American rights to a basket of Bristol-Myers Squibb's ($BMY) over-the-counter products for a cool $482 million.