Unilever says it will not raise offer for GSK division after £50bn bid rejected

Analysts and investors had raised concerns over a potential deal after the bid was first confirmed.


Unilever has said it will not increase its £50 billion offer for GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK) consumer arm which was rejected earlier this week.

The Marmite and Dove soap manufacturer said it has considered financial documents from GSK over the business – which is due to be spun off later this year – but they have not changed Unilever’s view of its value.

Shares in Unilever slid on Monday after it confirmed reports regarding the rejected approach.

On Monday, Unilever said it would consider its next move after telling investors it believed the division, which owns brands including Sensodyne and Panadol, would be a “strong strategic fit” with is current brands.

Supermarket pricing row
Unilever makes household brands including Marmite and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream (Matthew Cooper/PA)

However, the move received fierce criticism from a number of analysts and investors.

Brokers at Bernstein said: “We think this is a very bad deal for Unilever shareholders.”

The update came after Bloomberg reported earlier this week that Unilever held talks with its banks about the scope for additional financing for an increased bid.

In a statement on Wednesday afternoon, Unilever said: “Accordingly, we will not increase our offer above £50 billion.

“Unilever is committed to maintaining strict financial discipline to ensure that acquisitions create value for our shareholders.

“Unilever also reiterates its commitment to continuing to improve the performance of its existing portfolio through its ongoing focus on operational excellence, its upcoming reorganisation and by rotating the portfolio to higher growth categories.

“We look forward to updating on our performance for Q4, and the full year, on February 10 and continued engagement with shareholders.”

Shares in Unilever closed 4.5% higher at 3,675.5p on Wednesday after it was boosted by speculation it would not increase its offer.

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