GSK consumer meds draw private equity bidders

GlaxoSmithKline may not get much interest from drugmakers in its for-sale portfolio of consumer drugs. But that doesn't mean it won't have customers. Reuters reports that at least three private equity firms are planning to make offers for those products, which include vitamins, painkillers and the once-promising weight-loss pill Alli.

Expected to be among the private equity bidders is Advent International, a Boston-based firm that counts former GSK CEO Jean-Pierre Garnier as one of its operating partners, aka industry experts who advise on potential deals. Others include Cinven and Warburg Pincus, the news service's sources say.

The products for sale account for a combined £500 million in annual sales, but GSK has pegged them as non-core products, and analysts have said they could bring £1.5 billion to €2 billion in a sale, which would be helpful to the drugmaker's share buyback program. Now, however, with drugmakers wary of the portfolio--particularly of Alli--the price could be less. "It's a tough portfolio and it's not clear it has any coherence other than being stuff that GSK doesn't want," one of Reuters' sources said.

Initial bids are reportedly due August 8. A sale is expected to close in the fourth quarter, CEO Andrew Witty said earlier this week.

- read the Reuters news