Consumer goods giant Unilever on Wednesday said it would not increase a £50-billion offer for the consumer healthcare unit owned by pharmaceutical groups GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer.
British group GSK at the weekend said it had received three unsolicited offers from Unilever for GSK Consumer Healthcare -- all of which were rejected for being too low.
US company Pfizer owns a minority stake in the unit.
"Unilever is committed to maintaining strict financial discipline to ensure that acquisitions create value for our shareholders," it said in a statement Wednesday, adding that it would not raise the offer above £50 billion ($68 billion).
British company Unilever on Monday said its "future strategic direction lies in materially expanding its presence in health, beauty and hygiene".
GSK Consumer Healthcare's leading products include Sensodyne toothpaste, pain relief drug Panadol and cold treatment Theraflu.
Unilever's major offerings include Magnum ice cream, Cif surface cleaner and Dove soap.
"Unilever... 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," it added Wednesday.
Unilever recently agreed to sell its global tea business, including brands Lipton and PG Tips, for 4.5 billion euros to private equity group CVC Capital Partners.
Ahead of Unilever appearing to have closed the door on the healthcare unit, analysts said private equity groups would likely be interested in bidding for GSK Consumer Healthcare.
Unilever's last bid in December comprised £41.7 billion in cash and £8.3 billion in Unilever shares.
The offers came as GSK was looking to spin off the consumer health division to concentrate on its main pharmaceutical arm.
GSK is led by Emma Walmsley, one of only eight women chief executives running companies on London's benchmark FTSE 100 index.
Walmsley, who headed the GSK consumer unit before its merger with Pfizer and her promotion to GlaxoSmithKline CEO, has faced severe shareholder pressure over her company's delays in producing Covid jabs and treatments.
The consumer healthcare business meanwhile had annual sales of £9.6 billion last year.
GSK owns a majority 68 percent of the unit with Pfizer the remainder.
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