P&G Unloads Prescription-Drug Business

Actonel, Handled by DDB, Part of $3.1 Billion Deal With Warner Chilcott

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BATAVIA, Ohio (AdAge.com) -- Procter & Gamble Co. is selling its prescription-drug business to privately held Warner Chilcott for $3.1 billion in cash, the company said today.

The business had sales of about $2.3 billion for the year ended June 30, largely from the only billion-dollar brand in the portfolio, osteoporosis drug Actonel.

Omnicom Group's DDB Worldwide, New York, handles Actonel and bladder-control drug Enablex, the only two P&G accounts on the DDB roster. Publicis Groupe's Starcom MediaVest Group handles media planning and buying. Actonel got $79 million in measured media support last year, per TNS Media Intelligence.

Other drugs in the portfolio include gastrointestinal drug Asacol and Intrinsa, a patch to increase female sex drive sold only in Europe, as the Food and Drug Administration has yet to approve the drug for sale in the U.S.

In a statement, P&G CEO Bob McDonald said the move would allow the company to focus on its consumer-health business, which includes Crest oral care, Vicks and Pepto-Bismol over-the-counter drugs, as well as Always and Tampax feminine products.

P&G announced its intention to seek a buyer for the pharmaceutical business in December. It stopped investing in research on new drugs in 2006.

The deal eliminates one of the most profitable, though shrinking, parts of P&G's business, as most of the portfolio faces growing or impending competition from generics. It also gives P&G more cash to fund acquisitions, something Mr. McDonald has said interests him.

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