GlaxoSmithKline to sell its nutritional drink brands to Suntory Beverage for $2.1 billion

Drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline said Monday that it had agreed to sell its nutritional drink brands Lucozade and Ribena to Japan-based Suntory Beverage & Food Ltd, for $2.1 billion.

GSK, which is based in London and has operations in Philadelphia and surrounding areas, said in February that it would look for a buyer for the drink brands because it wanted to focus more on its pharmaceutical products. GSK will use the cash to reduce debt.

“Lucozade and Ribena are iconic brands that have made a huge contribution to GSK over the years, but now is the right time to sell them as we increase the focus of our Consumer Healthcare business and execute the delivery of our late stage pipeline of pharmaceuticals and vaccines," David Redfern, GSK's chief strategy officer, said in a statement. "We believe the future of Lucozade and Ribena is in good hands given SBF’s established beverages business, ambitious growth plans and also their recognition of the strong performance and capability of the GSK employees working on these products.”