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David Fickling and Nisha Gopalan

Horlicks May Not Be Such a Sweet Deal

Unilever’s purchase of GSK's nutrition unit, which includes the malted milk-drink brand, comes as Indians lose their taste for sugary beverages.

Sweet tooth.

Sweet tooth.

Photographer: Sanjit Das/Bloomberg

Unilever NV is buying India's top drink from GlaxoSmithKline Plc. Let's hope the global consumer giant didn’t pay too much. 

GSK has entered into exclusive negotiations to sell its nutrition business to Unilever, according to the Financial Times. That includes Horlicks, a malted milk drink seen as a staple for the children of upwardly mobile families in India. What the Anglo-Dutch giant has offered is unclear, but GSK's Bombay Stock Exchange-listed business GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare Ltd., in which it has a 72.5 percent stake, has a market value of $4.2 billion. GlaxoSmithKline Bangladesh Ltd., which the Financial Times said would also be included, is worth 15.7 billion takas ($187 million).