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Tuesday, February 24, 1998 Published at 04:03 GMT


Drug giants in their own right
image: [ Marriage called off because of irreconciliable differences ]
Marriage called off because of irreconciliable differences

The failed merger between Glaxo Wellcome and SmithKline Beecham would have created the world largest pharmaceutical company. But both firms are giants in their own right:

Glaxo Wellcome

  • Glaxo Wellcome was created in 1995 when Glaxo took over Wellcome in a $14.73 billion (£9 billion) deal that was the biggest in British corporate history at the time.
  • It employs 54,900 people worldwide, including 13,000 in Britain.
  • Last year Glaxo Wellcome made pre-tax profits of $4.84 billion (£2.96 billion) on sales of $13.65 billion (£8.34 billion).
  • The company makes the world's biggest-selling drug, anti-ulcer treatment Zantac, as well as virus treatment Zovirax, migraine treatment Imigran, asthma drug Ventolin and Aids treatments Retrovir and Epivir.

Smithkline Beecham

  • SmithKline Beecham was in talks with American Home Products Corporation until it surprised the City by breaking off negotiations to announce the Glaxo deal.
  • It employs 57,000 people worldwide, with 8,200 workers in Britain.
  • The firm's Chief Executive Jan Leschley used to be a professional tennis player. He was once ranked 10th in the world and made 16 Wimbledon appearances.
  • SmithKline Beecham's biggest business is prescription medicines. It also makes some of the best known products found on the chemists' shelves including Panadol and Andrew's Liver Salts, as well as Aquafresh and Macleans toothpastes, Nicorette anti-smoking patches and nutritional drinks Horlick's, Lucozade and Ribena.
  • Last year it made a pre-tax profit of $2.45 billion (£1.5 billion) on sales of $12.93 billion (£7.9 billion).
  • SmithKline Beecham's roots go back to 1830 when American John K Smith opened his first drugstore in Philadelphia, USA. In 1865 he teamed up with bookkeeper Mahlon Kline.
  • In 1842 Thomas Beecham launched his Beecham Pills laxative business in England, opening Britain's first drugs factory at St Helens in 1859.
  • After growing independently on either side of the Atlantic, the two groups merged in 1989 to create SmithKline Beecham.


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