Unilever today (1 April) announced the completion of its acquisition of food-and-beverage brand Horlicks and other consumer nutrition products from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), almost 16 months after the companies announced the deal.
The Anglo-Dutch consumer-goods group announced to the London Stock Exchange it had finalised the merger of GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare Limited (GSKCH) with Hindustan Unilever (HUL), the Knorr owner’s listed business in India.
Now the transaction has been completed, Unilever’s holding in HUL will be diluted from 67.2% to 61.9%.
“Unilever has also completed the related acquisition of Horlicks brands rights and other Consumer Healthcare nutrition assets from GSK in other predominantly Asian markets. Bangladesh closing is expected to follow later this quarter, subject to local procedures,” the stock-exchange filing read.
In December 2018, Unilever announced a complex cash-and-shares deal with UK-based pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline.
The transaction consisted of three elements: an all-equity merger of Hindustan Unilever, the FMCG giant’s listed entity in India, with GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare Ltd; the acquisition of an 82% stake in GSK Bangladesh; and the acquisition of certain other commercial operations and assets outside India. The nature of the deal meant it needed multiple regulatory approvals in India.
Unilever said the “total consideration for the transaction” was around EUR4.6bn, of which the company’s “implied contribution through both cash and through the issue of shares in Hindustan Unilever”, is approximately EUR3.3bn.
The deal took in what Unilever called GSK’s “health food drinks portfolio” and covers India, Bangladesh and “20 other predominantly Asian markets”, the company said at the time.
The largest brand in the portfolio is Horlicks, under which GSK markets a range of malt-based beverages for which the brand is best known, as well as offering oat-based breakfast cereal and biscuits.
The portfolio also includes Boost, another brand under which GSK markets malt-based drinks and biscuits, as well as Foodles noodles, a line developed with Japan’s Nissin Foods Holdings.
It is the beverage products that account for the lion’s share of sales.