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Business

P&G Sells Drug Unit To Warner Chilcott

Acquisition expands drug firm's specialty product lines in the U.S.

by Ann M. Thayer
August 31, 2009 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 87, ISSUE 35

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Credit: Procter & Gamble
P&G's ulcerative colitis product, among others, is going to Warner Chilcott.
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Credit: Procter & Gamble
P&G's ulcerative colitis product, among others, is going to Warner Chilcott.

Procter & Gamble is selling its pharmaceuticals business to Warner Chilcott, a former division of Warner-Lambert.

The Irish specialty pharmaceutical company will pay $3.1 billion in cash to acquire a business that makes prescription products for ulcerative colitis, osteoporosis, and overactive bladder. It also will gain drug development capabilities, a product pipeline, and manufacturing facilities in Puerto Rico and Germany.

At double the Irish firm's current size, the P&G business transforms Warner Chilcott into a global pharmaceutical company and expands its presence in women's health care, CEO Roger Boissonneault says. For the 12 months ending June 30, P&G's pharmaceutical business had revenues of about $2.3 billion and net income of $540 million. Warner Chilcott's annual sales are just less than $1 billion.

The deal allows P&G to focus on its personal care, beauty, and household product divisions. In 2006, P&G jettisoned its discovery-phase pharmaceutical R&D efforts in favor of in-licensing late-stage compounds, and in late 2008 the company said it wanted to exit the drug business outright.

In a written statement, P&G's management calls Warner Chilcott a better investor in the drug assets, brands, and capabilities because of its focus on pharmaceuticals. P&G, meanwhile, is putting its priority on its consumer health care businesses.

The majority of the 2,300 employees in P&G's pharmaceutical business are expected to move to Warner Chilcott. The welfare of these men and women, P&G CEO Bob McDonald says, "was a key consideration in the choice of a buyer."

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