LONDON, April 24 GlaxoSmithKline
shareholders could be in line for a possible windfall after the
drugmaker put two drinks brands up for sale and bundled some 50
old drugs into a new unit, analysts said.
The widely-expected sale of energy and fruit drinks Lucozade
and Ribena could bring in some 1.2 billion pounds($1.8 billion),
if the brands sell for twice the value of their annual sales, as
some analysts expect.
The surprise move to bundle some established drugs into a
new unit, meanwhile, could bring in substantially more. With
sales last year of 3 billion pounds, those brands could generate
proceeds of 9 billion to 12 billion pounds, said Panmure Gordon
analyst Savvas Neophytou.
"Depending on tax implications of that sort of divestment,
or spin-out, we may see an increased clamour for a special
dividend in coming months," he said. "This should drive further
Analysts at Berenberg and Jefferies also said the move was
bound to fuel speculation that the business could ultimately be
spun out from the group.
The new division housing GSK's established products will
include older medicines that are no longer widely promoted, such
as stomach acid treatments Tagamet and Zantac, Imitrex for
migraine, and anti-nausea treatment Zofran.
The unit will report results separately from January 2014.
Chief Executive Andrew Witty said the creation of the
separate business clearly increased the company's options.
"How it might play going forward is an open question," he
said after announcing first-quarter results.
"This is a sensible move to ensure we are maximising value
in the short run but, of course, it opens up optionality for us
in the future."
An outright sale is not the only option. Other possibilities
could include selling just some of the products in the unit or
placing them into a joint venture with another company, as GSK
has done already with its HIV/AIDS drugs via a deal with Pfizer