Range of top law firms advising on pharma giants spin-off

A large group of leading commercial law firms advise the spin-off of Haleon, the consumer healthcare business of GSK and Pfizer.

Pfiizer has announced its decision to exit the joint venture and sell its 32% stake following news of Haleon’s IPO next month in a process likely to value it at around £40bn.

Long-time GSK adviser Slaughter and May works for the British pharmaceutical company as it spins off from Haleon. The team is led by corporate partners David Johnson, Simon Nicholls, Claire Jackson and John Papanichola.

Cleary is advising GSK on the US aspects of the transaction, with a team led by London partner Sebastian Sperber and lawyer Sarah Lewis.

Wachtell works alongside Clifford Chance as legal counsel for Pfizer. On the Wachtell side, the team is led by partner Jacob A. Kling. Clifford Chance’s team is led by partners Simon Thomas and Gareth Camp according to a person familiar with the matter. Thomas and Camp worked on the initial merger agreement in 2018. The pharma giants are also advised separately on tax matters by a cross-border Skadden team led by partners Alec Jarvis in New York, Alex Jupp in London and Eric Sensenbrenner in Washington DC.

Freshfields takes action as independent counsel to Haleon, with a team led by transaction partners Julian Long and Samira Afrasiabi and financial partners Martin Hutchings and Duncan Kellaway.

Ashurst is advising joint sponsors Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch on the spin-off with the head of their equity markets practice, Nicholas Holmes, leading the team.

GSK described the split and public listing of Haleon, as his “most significant corporate change in the past 20 years”.

GSK, which changed its name to GlaxoSmithKline in May, boosted its vaccines business last week by acquiring Boston-based biotech group Affinivax. for $3.3 billion.

A team of New York-based lawyers from Davis Polk advised the pharmaceutical giant on the corporate side of this 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 of Cleary who advised the antitrust part of the deal with a Brussels-based partner Patrick Bock and his Washington-based partner Ken Reinker lead the team.

Affinivax was represented by the American company Gunderson Dettmer Stough Villeneuve Franklin & Hachigian. A company spokesperson confirmed tHis team was led by corporate partners Tim Ehrlich, Andrew Luh and Keith Scherer.

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