GSK chief 'open-minded' about ViiV spinoff

The spinoff speculation about ViiV Healthcare is heating up, and majority owner GlaxoSmithKline isn't quashing it, at least not completely. GSK chief Andrew Witty (photo), whose company currently owns 85 percent of the HIV-specific joint venture with Pfizer, says he has no immediate plans to turn ViiV into an independent company, Reuters reports. But he's "open-minded" about it in the long term.

"There's nothing in the short term that we've got planned," Witty said (as quoted by the news service). "We're very happy with what we've got at the moment and we're focused on making it work."

Possible fuel for the spinoff talk is Pfizer's ongoing review of all of its businesses for potential sale. Pfizer CEO Ian Read (photo) says that review will be wrapped up by year's end. Plus, as Reuters points out, Morgan Stanley analysts recently told investors that a ViiV IPO or spinoff could be beneficial for ViiV and GSK.

Witty left the door open: "Let's see where we go in the future in terms of long-term corporate structure," he told Reuters and other media sources after the company's annual meeting. "Obviously, we've got all sorts of options. "As we've demonstrated all over the place since I've taken over, we're prepared to do what creates the best value for shareholders...we're very open-minded."

- read the Reuters news

ALSO: Recent gains in GSK's share price show investors are growing more confident that the company's fortunes have stabilized and it is poised to deliver sustained earnings growth, according to Witty. Report

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