Unilever set to buy Glaxo SmithKline’s nutrition business with an investment of $3.4-billion

Nov 29, 2018

Horlicks may at last get a new home, as Unilever is all set to buy Glaxo SmithKline’s nutrition business with a $3.4-billion all-cash offer for a 72.5% stake, ending nearly a year-long contest for Horlicks, the popular malted drink brand in India.

The Anglo-Dutch Unilever overtook Nestle, the world’s largest food and Drinks Company, in a closely fought battle between the European consumer giants. The deal, if finalised, will strengthen Unilever, position in India, its most important emerging market.

Talks have been completed and a definitive agreement is likely to be signed as early as next week. Unilever is said to have won out after revising its initial share-swap offer into an all-cash deal. Its rival had also pitched an all-cash deal.

As part of the agreement, Unilever will also help GSK sell its over-the-counter (OTC) and oral care brands such as Sensodyne, Eno and Crocin through Hindustan Unilever’s distribution network. At a later stage, both sides could explore a potential merger of HUL and GSK Consumer India.

Bank of America-Merrill Lynch is advising Unilever on the deal, while Morgan Stanley and Green Hill are doing so for GSK.

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