GSK plans sale of $3.7 bn stake in HUL

GSK plans sale of $3.7 billion stake in Unilever India

A GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) logo is seen at the GSK research centre in Stevenage, Britain (Reuters photo)

GlaxoSmithKline Plc is preparing to start a sale of its $3.7 billion stake in Unilever’s listed India unit, according to people familiar with the matter.

Glaxo plans to offload part or all of its 5.7% holding in Hindustan Unilever Ltd. through a series of block trades, which could start as soon as the next few days, according to the people. The company is in discussions with advisers on when to launch the transactions, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private.

The drugmaker received the stake, valued at $3.7 billion as of Wednesday, as part of the payment for the sale of a portfolio of assets that was completed this month. In December 2018, Unilever said it would acquire the health food drinks brands of Glaxo in India and Bangladesh and other markets for 3.3 billion euros ($3.6 billion) in cash and shares in Hindustan Unilever. As part of the transaction, Glaxo would receive a 5.7% stake in the Indian unit.

No final decision has been taken on the timing of the proposed trades, and Glaxo could decide to postpone the sale depending on market conditions and investor demand, the people said.

A representative for Glaxo declined to comment. A representative for Hindustan Unilever didn’t immediately respond to emails and phone calls seeking comment.