Reckitt Benckiser has been dropping plenty of hints that it would eventually spin off its pharmaceuticals unit. The time is here: The company says it will break off its pharma unit via with a separate U.K. listing, becoming the latest drugmaker to join pharma's slim-down craze.
British consumer goods giant Reckitt Benckiser indicated Wednesday that bidding for the consumer healthcare unit of Merck had gotten out of hand, and so it decided to step aside. By dropping out it would appear to leave Germany's Bayer as the likely buyer for the unit.
As Reuters reported this weekend, Reckitt and Germany's Bayer have emerged as front-runners for the unit, which could go for $13.5 billion--or higher, if a bidding war ensues.
Merck has entered the home stretch with its consumer unit sale, and the deal may be even bigger than previous reports have hinted. According to Reuters, the unit could go for close to $14 billion--a number that could climb even higher as front-runners Bayer and Reckitt Benckiser duke it out.
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.