GSK breathes life into nasal strip maker with $566m buy

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The Independent Online

GlaxoSmithKline is paying $566m (£303m) to acquire the manufacturer of a stick-on nasal strip that helps snorers and athletes breathe more easily.

The pharmaceuticals giant is adding Breathe Right to its portfolio of consumer medicines that includes Panadol headache pills, Tums indigestion tablets and Nicorette anti-smoking patches.

The Breathe Right brand, which covers nasal strips to open up the nostrils and throat sprays to prevent snoring, was developed by CNS, a Minneapolis company which was looking for a bigger company to push the products outside the US. After an auction of the business, GSK agreed to pay $37.50 a share for CNS.

The company has been selling Breathe Right strips since 1993 and the following year a running-back for the Philadelphia Eagles wore a nasal strip during a televised American football game - and the strips gained popularity throughout the professional game.

Other CNS products include the Fiber Choice range of dietary supplements, which have yet to be launched outside the US. Breathe Right sales have been growing at 12 per cent a year, and Fiber Choice is growing at 54 per cent a year.

Marti Morfitt, the chief executive of CNS, said: "I am proud of our achievements at CNS and the success we have built around our brands, and am happy our good work will continue with GSK as these brands realise their worldwide potential."

GSK has been trying to bulk up its consumer healthcare arm - which had sales of £1.6bn in the first half of the year, compared to £10.1bn for the main prescription medicines division. Earlier this year it lost out in the $16.6bn auction of Pfizer's over-the-counter medicines division, while last year the consumer products division of Boots was sold to Reckitt Benckiser for almost £2bn.