Reckitt Benckiser has no regrets about its $17 billion acquisition of Mead Johnson last year, its chief executive said, even though there are concerns it may now be too stretched to buy Pfizer's coveted consumer health business.
The Pfizer business, which is currently on the block, would fulfil Reckitt CEO Rakesh Kapoor's long-stated plan to transform Reckitt from a British maker of household cleaning products into a global leader in consumer healthcare.
But some analysts question whether Reckitt has the managerial and financial strength to pull off a deal that may be worth up to $20 billion so soon after buying the Mead Johnson baby formula business.
Kapoor declined to say whether Reckitt was bidding for the Pfizer unit, which makes Centrum vitamins and Advil painkiller, or another smaller vitamin business being sold by Merck. The CEO told Reuters that the Mead Johnson acquisition had already benefited Reckitt, although it has only just reversed several quarters of decline in that business. “I can easily say that if I knew then what I know now, I would still have gone for Mead Johnson.”