UK pharmaceutical giant GSK has requested bids by mid-September for its $4.3-billion Indian consumer-health unit, which owns the popular malted milk brand Horlicks, people with knowledge of the matter said.
GSK has sent out an information memorandum with preliminary details about the business to potential suitors, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. The sale has attracted interest from potential bidders including Nestle, PepsiCo and Reckitt Benckiser Group, they said.
The UK drugmaker announced in March that it aims to complete a strategic review of Horlicks and other nutritional products by the end of this year. The company is assessing its 72.5% holding in India-listed GSK Consumer Healthcare as part of that process.
Proceeds from a potential sale could be used to finance GSK’s $13-billion buyout of Novartis’ stake in their consumer-health joint venture. Representatives for Glaxo and Nestle declined to comment. Spokesmen for Reckitt and Pepsi had no immediate comment.
GSK’s review of assets includes its 82% stake in the Dhaka-listed GSK Bangladesh, as well as marketing rights to some consumer-health brands in other emerging economies, the people said. There’s no certainty the deliberations will lead to a transaction, and the parent company may yet decide to keep the businesses, they said. Shares of GSK Consumer Healthcare have advanced almost 10% in Mumbai trading this year, giving it a market value of Rs 29,900 crore ($4.3 billion).