November 26, 2014 / 7:40 PM / 5 years ago

U.S. approves GSK's purchase of Novartis vaccine business: companies

The signage for the GlaxoSmithKline building is pictured in Hounslow, west London June 18, 2013. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - GlaxoSmithKline won U.S. antitrust approval to buy Novartis AG’s vaccine business, with the exception of influenza vaccines, the two companies said on Wednesday.

The deal is part of a three-way transaction unveiled in April, which includes Britain’s GSK buying the vaccines business of Novartis, the Swiss company purchasing GSK’s cancer drugs, and the two groups tying up in consumer healthcare.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission had previously announced on Wednesday that it approved the consumer health care joint venture on the condition that Novartis sell its Habitrol nicotine patch.

Novartis and Glaxo, which has Nicoderm CQ, are two of only three companies that sell nicotine patches to U.S. retailers, the FTC said.

Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Diane Craft

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