GSK impatient to unload for-sale OTC brands

GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) wants to make a deal already. After hawking a portfolio of consumer drugs for months, the company managed to unload 17 of them to Prestige Brands Holdings in December. Now, it wants to get the rest of the portfolio sold, posthaste, CFO Simon Dingemans told Bloomberg at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco.

"We are keen to move the process along as quickly as we can," Dingemans told the news service. "We are engaged in discussions with a number of different parties." Dingemans wouldn't offer any more details, but the company has said the remaining for-sale brands had about $618 million in sales last year, Bloomberg notes.

The company wants to expand in consumer healthcare, but decided to jettison a group of its OTC brands so it could focus on higher-performing products. The assortment of products in that portfolio was something of a jumble, however, ranging from the once-high-profile diet drug Alli to the gas-preventer Beano and covering rights in a variety of geographical locations. Analysts said few buyers were interested in the entire group, preferring to snap up pieces of the portfolio instead. And that is exactly what ended up happening with Prestige Brands, which bought U.S. and Canadian brands for $660 million.

- read the Bloomberg story