Pfizer Sells OTC Business To J&J For $16.6 Billion

Pfizer Inc. said June 26 that it would sell its over-the-counter healthcare business to Johnson and Johnson for $16.6 billion, part of a strategy to focus on its core pharmaceuticals business. Pfizer, the world's biggest drug maker, had received several takeover bids for its Pfizer Consumer Healthcare business in recent weeks, notably from British rival GlaxoSmithKline.

The over-the-counter division generated revenue of $3.9 billion in 2005 selling such globally known brands as Listerine mouthwash, Sudafed decongestant, Visine eye drops and Nicorette smoking-cessation gum. Pfizer announced in February it wanted to sell the division and estimated it would fetch $14 billion.

"We will now be in an even stronger position to capitalize on the many opportunities we see in our core pharmaceuticals business, as well as enhance returns to our shareholders," said Pfizer chairman and chief executive Hank McKinnell. To drive long-term growth, "we have acquired products, product candidates and technologies in priority areas such as Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, obesity and infectious diseases in just the last 12 months," the company said.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006

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