A large group of top commercial law firms are advising on the spin-off of GSK and Pfizer’s consumer healthcare business, Haleon.
Pfiizer announced its decision to exit the joint venture and to sell its 32% stake following the announcement that Haleon is due to be listed on the stock market next month in a process likely to value it at around £40 billion.
Slaughter and May, long-standing adviser to GSK, is working for the British pharmaceutical company as it separates from Haleon. The team is being led by corporate partners David Johnson, Simon Nicholls, Claire Jackson and John Papanichola.
Cleary is advising GSK on the U.S. aspects of the transaction, with a team led by London-based partner Sebastian Sperber and counsel Sarah Lewis.
Wachtell is working alongside Clifford Chance as legal advisors for Pfizer. On the Wachtell side, the team is being led by corporate partner Jacob A. Kling. The Clifford Chance team is headed by partners Simon Thomas, and Gareth Camp according to a person with knowledge of the matter. Both Thomas and Camp worked on the original merger deal back in 2018. The pharma giants are also being separately advised on tax matters by a cross-border Skadden team headed by partners Alec Jarvis in New York, Alex Jupp in London and Eric Sensenbrenner in Washington DC.
Freshfields is acting as independent counsel to Haleon, with a team headed by transactions partners Julian Long and Samira Afrasiabi and finance partners Martin Hutchings and Duncan Kellaway.
Ashurst is advising the joint sponsors, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch, on the demerger with head of their equity capital markets practice, Nicholas Holmes, leading the team.
GSK described the demerger and public listing of Haleon, as its “most significant corporate change in the last 20 years”.
Last week, GSK, which rebranded from GlaxoSmithKline in May, boosted it’s vaccine business by acquiring the Boston-based biotech group Affinivax for $3.3 billion.
A New-York based team of lawyers from Davis Polk advised the pharma giant on the corporate side of that deal according to a statement from the firm, with a team led by corporate partners William J. Chudd and Daniel Brass.
Davis Polk was joined by a cross-border team from Cleary which advised on the antitrust part of the deal with Brussels-based partner Patrick Bock, and Washington-based partner Ken Reinker heading up the team.
Affinivax was represented by US firm Gunderson Dettmer Stough Villeneuve Franklin & Hachigian. A spokesman from the firm confirmed their team was led by corporate partners Tim Ehrlich, Andrew Luh and Keith Scherer.