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Tue, Aug 25, 2009 - Page 10 News List

Warner Chilcott to buy P&G unit

TAKEOVER The maker of brands such as Tide detergent, Gillette razors and Pampers diapers is ready to sell its prescription drug business to Warner Chilcott for US$3bn

AP , NEW YORK

Drug maker Warner Chilcott PLC was said to have been ready to announce a US$3 billion takeover of Procter & Gamble Co’s (P&G) prescription drug business as early as yesterday, the Wall Street Journal has reported, citing unidentified people familiar with the deal.

Asked to comment on the report on Sunday, P&G spokesman Tom Millikin said that the consumer products company did not respond to rumors or speculation. A message left at Warner Chilcott’s offices in Rockaway, New Jersey, was not immediately returned.

Cincinnati-based P&G, known for brands like Tide detergent, Gillette razors and Pampers diapers, said late last year it was interested in exiting the prescription drug business. That segment’s products include women’s osteoporosis treatment Actonel, which generates more than US$1 billion in annual revenue.

Private-equity firm Cerberus Capital Management and drug maker Forest Laboratories were also purportedly interested in the P&G division, the paper said.

If completed, the deal would more than double Ireland-based Warner Chilcott’s annual revenue and expand its share of the women’s health market. The company, which makes birth control, female hormone therapies and dermatology products, has forecast annual sales of more than US$1 billion for this fiscal year.

P&G has said it sees better potential with over-the-counter products such as Vicks cough medicines and other personal care brands, like Always and Tampax feminine care. Last year the company sold off its Folgers coffee business to J.M. Smucker Inc, and added beauty and grooming businesses to its portfolio.

The paper said six banks were expected to put up US$4 billion in financing, with US$3 billion going toward the sale and the rest to refinance US$1 billion in existing Warner Chilcott debt.

It said the bank group was led by J.P. Morgan Chase & Co and Bank of America Corp, and also included Credit Suisse Group, Citigroup Inc, Barclays PLC and Morgan Stanley.

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