(Adds background on deal, Novartis statement)
WASHINGTON, Nov 26 (Reuters) - Switzerland’s Novartis AG has agreed to sell its nicotine patch, Habitrol, in order to win U.S. antitrust approval for a consumer healthcare joint venture with Britain’s GlaxoSmithKline, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission said on Wednesday.
The deal is part of a three-way transaction unveiled in April, which includes GSK buying Novartis’ vaccines business, Novartis purchasing GSK’s cancer drugs, and the two groups tying up in consumer healthcare.
Britain’s GSK has a shareholder meeting on Dec. 18 to consider the proposed deal, in which more than $20 billion in assets will change hands.
The consumer healthcare portion of the deal approved on a Wednesday would create a joint venture to market products like toothpaste, cold remedies, and skin care aids. GSK will own roughly two-thirds of the joint venture and Novartis will own about one-third, the FTC said in a court filing.
Novartis and Glaxo, which has Nicoderm CQ, are two of only three companies that sell nicotine patches to U.S. retailers, the FTC said.
Habitrol, which had $58 million in sales in 2013, will be sold to India’s Dr. Reddy’s, the FTC said.
The five-member commission, which is made up of three Democrats and two Republicans, approved the settlement unanimously. (Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Ros Krasny and Susan Heavey)