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Unilever will not increase 50-billion-pound offer for GSK consumer arm

(Reuters) – Unilever PLC on Wednesday effectively abandoned its plans to buy GlaxoSmithKline’s consumer healthcare business, saying on Wednesday that it would not raise a 50 billion pound ($68 billion) offer that GSK previously rejected.

U.S.-listed shares of Unilever rose 10.1% on the news, while GSK’s fell 2.8% . The two stocks also trade on the FTSE, which was closed for the day’s trading.

GSK was not immediately available for comment.

GlaxoSmithKline confirmed over the weekend that it had rejected three bids from Unilever for its consumer arm, which is home to brands such as Sensodyne toothpaste, Emergen-C vitamin supplement and Panadol painkiller.

The pharmaceutical company said the bids “fundamentally undervalued” the business and its future prospects and that it would stick to its plan to separately list the business.

“We note the recently shared financial assumptions from the current owners of GSK Consumer Healthcare and have determined that it does not change our view on fundamental value,” Unilever said in a statement late on Wednesday.

The Dove soap maker’s move comes after analysts and investors widely panned the offer, sending Unilever’s shares down 8% on Monday, worried about the financial implications for the company.

Reports emerged that GSK was holding out for a bid of over 60 billion pounds, putting Unilever under pressure to raise its offer for a deal that did not have broad support.

($1 = 0.7337 pounds)

(Reporting by Siddharth Cavale and Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Syamnath, Alexandra Hudson)


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