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Glaxo pulls out of $20-billion race for Pfizer assets

A GlaxoSmithKline logo is seen outside one of its buildings in west London in this file photo.

TOBY MELVILLE/REUTERS

GlaxoSmithKline has withdrawn from the race to buy Pfizer's consumer health care business, the British drugs company said on Friday, endangering an auction for an asset some said could fetch as much as $20 billion.

GSK was seen as the front runner to buy the assets, which include Advil painkillers and Centrum vitamins, after main rival Reckitt Benckiser quit the race on Thursday.

"While we will continue to review opportunities that may accelerate our strategy, they must meet our criteria for returns and not compromise our priorities for capital allocation," Chief Executive Emma Walmsley said in a brief statement.

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GSK shares jumped 4 percent to 13.23 pounds at 0809 GMT.

A Pfizer representative was not immediately available to comment.

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