GlaxoSmithKline has withdrawn from the auction to buy Pfizer’s consumer healthcare business — a sale that Pfizer had hoped would bring in as much as $20 billion.
GSK was seen as the frontrunner to buy the assets — which include Advil painkillers, Chapstick lip balm and Centrum vitamins — after Reckitt Benckiser left the race earlier in the week and J&J stepped away from it in January.
While the immediate reason for GSK's withdrawal was not made clear, GSK Chief Executive Emma Walmsley said that opportunities must “meet our criteria for returns and not compromise our priorities for capital allocation.”
Pfizer, who says a decision for the consumer business will be made in 2018, will continue to evaluate potential alternatives, such as a spin-off or retaining the business.
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