GSK has no immediate plans to spin off Pfizer joint venture


GlaxoSmithKline has made no plans to spin off or float its consumer healthcare joint venture with Pfizer, according to a top company executive.

Last year GSK and Pfizer merged their consumer healthcare businesses into a single joint venture, creating one of the largest over-the-counter companies in the world with major market share in important regions such as the US and China.

According to BNN Bloomberg Pfizer's CEO Albert Bourla said this week he expects GSK to pursue an IPO in three to four years.

"This is the time that we will be able to exit from this partnership, and I’m sure that this business will have a fantastic IPO," Bourla said.

The long-term plan has always been to spin off the joint venture into a new company, but for now that is a long way off according to GSK's chief strategy officer.

In an interview at the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco, GSK's chief strategy officer David Redfern said the UK pharma had made no firm plans for an IPO.

"No, actually we haven’t decided anything. We haven’t really thought about it," Redfern said.

"We've said when we announced the deal, we expect it to separate within three years, but actually up to five years. And it's entirely our decision."

For now the focus is on integrating the business and growing sales, rather than a spin off or IPO.

"We don’t want it too distracted right now thinking about capital markets," Redfern said. "Whether its an IPO or just a straight spin, all options are on the table. We've literally had no discussion (with Pfizer)", he said.

The combined business has sales of about $13 billion and markets products including Advil painkillers, Tums stomach tablets, Sensodyne toothpaste, and Nicorette gum.

GSK is the majority owner and Pfizer has around a third of the business, which has been created to allow both pharma companies to focus on developing more novel drugs.