GSK nabs Maxinutrition; Reckitt pays $726M for Paras

A couple of consumer-health deals underscore pharma's ongoing rush to diversify. First, GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) has bought a protein-drinks firm, Maxinutrition, for 162 million pounds ($255.7 million), to help complement its nutritional drinks businesses. The deal will help GSK with its ongoing bid to pump up its consumer healthcare business, CEO Andrew Witty told Reuters.

"It fits beautifully with the Lucozade business," Witty told the news service. "The more subtle part is that if you think about GSK now, we have a carbohydrates nutrition business with Lucozade, we have a calcium micronutrients business which is Horlicks, and now we have a protein nutritional business." Witty envisions offering nutritional drinks not only for athletes, but also for other people who need supplementation: "You could imagine nutrition for the elderly, and you could also imagine daily nutritional supplements for people in Africa."

Meanwhile, Reckitt Benckiser, the U.K. consumer products and drugs company, has agreed to buy--some say agreed to overpay--for a consumer healthcare business in India. Reckitt will pay some $726 million, or 8.2 times sales, for Paras Pharmaceuticals, which makes ointments, OTC remedies and other personal care products. Reckitt is looking to grab a share of the fast-growing Indian consumer-drug market, as were its rival bidders GlaxoSmithKline, Sanofi-Aventis, Johnson & Johnson and Novartis. Apparently, however, Reckitt was prepared to pay more.

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