GlaxoSmithKline said it has bought a 19 percent stake in South Africa's Aspen Pharmacare Holdings, part of an effort to diversify its business to compete with generic copies of its drugs.
Glaxo buys stake in generic drugmaker
The asset-swap deal gives Aspen, South Africa's largest generic drugmaker, the right to distribute Glaxo drugs in that country. London-based Glaxo also transferred eight medicines and a factory in Germany to Johannesburg-based Aspen.
Glaxo had originally said it intended to take a 16 percent holding in the company, but said it had acquired 81.7 million shares, giving it a larger stake.
Glaxo, the world's second largest drugmaker by revenue, has made a series of shuffles to its asset portfolio in recent weeks as it attempts to deal with heightened generic competition, particularly in the United States.
That has led the company to move toward selling its own branded generic drugs in emerging and existing markets to break its traditional reliance on blockbuster medicines in Western countries.
Last month, it announced it was buying American dermatology business Stiefel Laboratories Inc. in a $2.9 billion deal. It also sold commercial rights to antidepressant Wellbutrin XL in the United States to Canadian drug developer Biovail Corp. for $510 million.
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