The £45bn company that will be created from the demerger of GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK) consumer products arm is in talks to hire a roster of investment bankers in one of the year’s most prestigious City pitches.
Sky News has learnt that Haleon, the new name for the maker of Panadol, Sensodyne and a host of other prominent healthcare brands, has convened a beauty parade of banks to appoint its inaugural corporate brokers and financial advisers.
The mandate creates an opening for bankers to advise what will become one of the biggest listed companies in Britain, with a market capitalisation that will place it in the top 20% of the FTSE-100 index.
GSK’s decision to demerge its consumer products arm came after years of shareholder unrest about the pharmaceutical giant’s financial performance, with the split formally expected to take effect in July.
Earlier this year, GSK rejected a £50bn bid from Unilever for the consumer healthcare division – an offer which triggered a crisis in the boardroom of the would-be acquirer.
Private equity firms were also tipped as potential buyers of Haleon in what would have been one of the largest debt-fuelled buyouts in history, but no offer materialised.
Haleon’s listing will be the biggest new arrival on the London stock market for at least a decade, with GSK signalling that it plans to press ahead with the move despite the market volatility exacerbated by the war in Ukraine.
A minority stake in what will become Haleon is owned by Pfizer, the American drugs behemoth.
The new company is to be chaired by Sir Dave Lewis, the former Tesco chief executive.
GSK and Haleon declined to comment.