* Glaxo buys firm for 162 million pounds cash
* Protein products complement Lucozade, Horlicks franchises
* Glaxo CEO sees new opportunities from broadening business
(Adds comments from Glaxo CEO)
By Paul Sandle
LONDON, Dec 13 (Reuters) - GlaxoSmithKline (GSK.L) is buying protein drinks firm Maxinutrition for 162 million pounds ($256 million) from its private-equity owners to complement its Lucozade sports drinks and Horlicks franchises.
Glaxo Chief Executive Andrew Witty said the deal, which is priced at 4.5 times last year’s sales, would give the drugmaker a broad range of nutritional drink products as it seeks to build up its consumer healthcare business.
“It fits beautifully with the Lucozade business,” Witty told Reuters in an interview.
“The more subtle part is that if you think about GSK now, we have a carbohydrates nutrition business with Lucozade, we have a calcium micronutrients business which is Horlicks, and now we have a protein nutritional business.”
Glaxo said on Monday it was buying the company from Darwin Private Equity for 162 million pounds in cash, including the repayment of outstanding debt.
British-based Maxinutrition is Europe’s leading sports nutrition company by market share, with a line-up of products that includes Maximuscle for weight-trainers, as well as Maxifuel and Maxitone.
It recorded sales of about 36 million pounds in the year to end-April 2010 and has delivered annual sales growth of approximately 21 percent over the last 3 years.
Witty said the broad base in three different types of nutritional healthcare products could allow Glaxo to contemplate a range of innovations in future.
“You could then imagine a whole series of new products at all levels of the system — you could imagine elite sports products, you could imagine nutrition for the elderly, and you could also imagine daily nutritional supplements for people in Africa,” he said.
The deal is subject to approval from Britain’s Office of Fair Trading. (Additional reporting by Ben Hirschler and Kate Kelland; Editing by Hans Peters) ($1=.6335 Pound)