Pfizer exits GSK Consumer Health joint venture after London listing

Pfizer will sell its stake in Haleon, its consumer healthcare joint venture with GlaxoSmithKline, after a London listing scheduled for July 18.

The US drugmaker has pledged to sell its shares in a “disciplined” manner and has entered into an “orderly marketing” agreement with GSK to ensure the two sellers do not destabilize shares of the newly independent company. There will be a blocking period of several months.

GSK said on Wednesday it had submitted Haleon’s prospectus to the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority for approval and expected the shares to be admitted to the premium listing segment of the London Stock Exchange on July 18.

The split from the consumer health company – which owns brands such as Sensodyne and Panadol – will be London’s biggest listing for a decade.

GSK turned down a £50bn offer from Unilever for the unit late last year, arguing it was undervaluing the business. Haleon expects to grow sales by 4-6% in the medium term, from nearly £10 billion a year.

Haleon was created with consumer healthcare assets from GSK, Pfizer and Novartis. It will be led by Brian McNamara, who oversaw the joint venture when it was part of GSK, and the board will be chaired by former Tesco chief executive Sir Dave Lewis.

The British drugmaker has a 68% stake in the company, while Pfizer has a 32% stake. Prior to the split, GSK expects to collect a dividend of over £7 billion.

After the spin-off, GSK investors will own at least 54.5% of the company, receiving a stake in Haleon for every GSK share they own. Funding mechanisms designed to fill the hole in GSK’s pension pot will account for an additional 7.5%. GSK itself will own up to 6%, which it will also sell over time to fund investments in its pipeline of drugs and vaccines.

The company also announced a stock consolidation of the remaining pharmaceuticals business to ensure comparability before and after the split.

Prior to the split, a general meeting will be held on July 6. GSK will announce its second quarter results on July 27, treating Haleon as a discontinued operation. Haleon will provide a trading update on the same date but will release its full interim results in September.

Pfizer did not respond to a request for comment.

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