Prestige buys rights to GSK OTC meds for $660M

Prestige Brands Holdings ($PBH) has bought 17 of GlaxoSmithKline's ($GSK) consumer drugs sold in North America for a total of $660 million (£426 million) in cash. Prestige will get the rights to BC, Goody's and Ecotrin brands of pain relievers, as well as other well-known names including Beano, Gaviscon and Tagamet.

Talks remain ongoing for divesting brands outside these markets, as well as the global rights for Alli, according to GSK.

Prestige is an over-the-counter drug company based in the U.S. that's been busy with acquisitions over the past year or so. The company bought OTC drugmaker Blacksmith Brands last year and picked up the Dramamine line of motion sickness products from Johnson & Johnson's ($JNJ) consumer drug unit. The GSK deal marks the largest acquisition in the company's history, according to Prestige CEO Matthew Mannelly.

"We expect that upon completion, the transactions will give our Company a strengthened portfolio with total OTC revenues of approximately $500 million, as well as platforms to compete in two new categories: adult aspirin-based analgesics and gastrointestinal (GI)," he added.

Analysts expected GSK to sell the North American and European consumer health brands all together for between £1.5 billion and £2 billion, Reuters notes. Still, the company is doing what its competitors are doing: looking beyond the U.S. and Europe to the rapidly growing emerging markets. And it is still promising to keep consumer healthcare a priority.

"Glaxo is focusing on consumer assets it can globalize," Gbola Amusa, a UBS analyst in London, recently said, as quoted by Bloomberg. "These assets being sold are worth more to other companies with more of a regional focus."

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