SMITHKLINE Beecham denied weekend reports that its directors were split over whether to revive its plans to merge with its rival, Glaxo Wellcome. A SmithKline spokesman said the report had no foundation. "We said at the beginning of this process that our management team was united, as a board, rock solid and unanimous in its decision to break off talks. That remains our current position."
It was reported that non-executive directors were split over whether they should offer up sufficient in the way of management concessions to allow the merger to proceed. Sir Richard Sykes of Glaxo has demanded that Jan Leschly, chief executive of SmithKline Beecham, stand aside as a condition of the merger. However, SmithKline said it wanted to scotch suggestions that Mr Leschly's position might be negotiable. All the non-executives were fully involved in the decision to break off talks, the spokesman said.