Pfizer to cut stake in Sensodyne toothpaste-maker Haleon to 24%

(Reuters) -Consumer healthcare firm Haleon said on Monday that U.S. drugmaker Pfizer, its top shareholder, will sell down its stake in the company to about 24%.

Pfizer, which currently holds a 32% stake in Haleon, said last year it planned to cut its ownership in a “slow and methodical” manner within months.

The offer price per share is expected to be announced on or around March 19, following the completion of a book-building process, Haleon said in a statement.

The sale of 630 million shares would be worth about 2.03 billion pounds ($2.58 billion), according to Haleon’s Friday closing price.

Shares in the FTSE 100-listed company dropped 2.2% to 315 pence in early trading on Monday.

Haleon, which makes household brands such as Sensodyne toothpaste and Advil painkillers, was spun out of British drugmaker GSK in July 2022. It was formed in 2019 by merging GSK and Pfizer’s consumer healthcare businesses.

GSK has since sold down its stake in the company, with the last sale in January bringing down its shareholding to 4.2% from the 12.9% it initially retained in the business. It is Haleon’s second-largest shareholder.

Haleon will also repurchase shares worth about 315 million pounds from Pfizer off-market, it said on Monday.

The London-listed company last month announced plans to buy back 500 million pounds of its shares this year amid firm demand for its products and progress in reducing debt.

Former parent GSK has also benefited from the spin-off, beating quarterly estimates and delivering an upbeat forecast for 2024 and beyond on the ramp-up of its vaccines and cancer drugs pipeline.

($1 = 0.7854 pounds)

(Reporting by Eva Mathews in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D’Souza and Janane Venkatraman, Kirsten Donovan)