Production & Manufacturing

Reckitt Benckiser drops plans to buy Pfizer's consumer healthcare business

PBR Staff Writer Published 22 March 2018

Reckitt Benckiser (RB) has dropped plans to acquire Pfizer's consumer healthcare business, which is made up of several over-the-counter (OTC) products sold in more than 90 countries.

RB ended discussions with Pfizer regarding its proposal, which was for part of the business only.

Financial Times reported that GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is now leading the race for Pfizer's unit.

In February, it was reported in Bloomberg that GSK and Reckitt Benckiser were the only companies to have made non-binding bids for the Pfizer business while others like Sanofi, Johnson & Johnson and Nestle pulled out after showing initial interest.

Pfizer is looking to raise about $20bn by divesting the unit which sells Advil painkillers, Centrum multivitamins and calcium supplement Caltrate among other non-prescription medicines, vitamins and nutritional products.

Reckitt Benckiser CEO Rakesh Kapoor revealed that the company’s priority continues to be organic growth, including the completion of the integration of Mead Johnson Nutrition. In last June, the company completed the $16.6bn acquisition of infant formula manufacturer Mead Johnson Nutrition.

Kapoor also revealed that Reckitt Benckiser will also continue to focus on creating more value following its reorganizing into two new business units in Health and Hygiene Home.

He further said: “We always approach inorganic growth opportunities in a rigorous, disciplined, and financially responsible manner to ensure long term value creation for shareholders.

“An acquisition for the whole Pfizer consumer health business did not fit our acquisition criteria and an acquisition of part of the business was not possible.”

Some of the major categories of Pfizer’s consumer health business are pain management, respiratory, dietary supplements and personal care.

Last year, Pfizer announced that it was exploring strategic alternatives for its consumer health business, including a full or partial separation or even retaining the business. The unit contributed $950m in the US pharma giant’s total earnings of $13.7bn in 2017.

Image: Pfizer World Headquarters in Manhattan, New York pictured in 2016. Photo: courtesy of Coolcaesar/