Novartis sells stake in venture to GSK for $13 billion

Health CareReuters

FILE PHOTO: Swiss drugmaker Novartis' logo is seen at the company's plant in the northern Swiss town of Stein, Switzerland October 23, 2017. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

GlaxoSmithKline will buy Novartis's 36.5 percent stake in their consumer healthcare joint venture for $13.0 billion in cash, the partners said on Tuesday.

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The deal is set to complete in the second quarter subject to the necessary approvals.

GSK said the transaction with Novartis was expected to add to adjusted earnings from 2018 and to strengthen cash flow generation.

It said it would also start a strategic review of Horlicks and other consumer nutrition products. The review will include an assessment of its shareholding in Indian subsidiary GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare Ltd.

The joint venture was formed in 2015 as part of a sweeping revamp that included combining the Novartis over-the-counter business with the GSK consumer healthcare business.

Products include Panadol headache tablets, muscle gel Voltaren, and Nicotinell patches used by smokers who want to quit their habit.

"While our consumer healthcare joint venture with GSK is progressing well, the time is right for Novartis to divest a non-core asset at an attractive price," Novartis CEO Vas Narasimhan said.

GlaxoSmithKline last week quit the race to buy Pfizer's consumer healthcare business, endangering an auction the U.S. drugmaker hoped would bring in as much as $20 billion.

(Reporting by Michael Shields, editing by John Revill)