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J&J’s consumer health unit Kenvue files for IPO, moving closer to spin-off

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Johnson & Johnson’s consumer health unit Kenvue on Wednesday filed to be listed as an independent company, bringing the healthcare conglomerate a step closer to completing the biggest shakeup in its 135-year history.

The business behind Band-Aid bandages and Tylenol medicines generated net sales of $15.1 billion in 2021, up from $14.5 billion in 2020, according to its filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

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The filing, for Kenvue to list on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “KVUE,” comes more than a year after Johnson & Johnson announced its plan to break up into two companies.

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J&J’s pharmaceutical and medical equipment units, which make cancer treatments and surgical tools, had recorded nearly $80 billion in sales in 2021, far ahead of its consumer products revenues.

The consumer unit has also faced nearly 40,000 lawsuits alleging that its baby powder and other talc products contained asbestos later linked to mesothelioma and ovarian cancer in women who used it for personal hygiene. J&J has denied the claims.

J&J’s decision to split up reflected how big, diversified corporations have been under pressure to simplify their structures to increase focus, especially in healthcare. Rival GlaxoSmithKline also recently completed the spin off of its consumer health business.

General Electric’s spun-off healthcare unit, GE HealthCare Technologies, debuted as an independent company on Nasdaq on Wednesday.

Kenvue said J&J will continue to own at least 80.1% of the voting power of the company’s shares upon completion of the offering. Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC and J.P. Morgan are the underwriters for the offering. (Reporting by Bhanvi Satija in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber and Devika Syamnath)

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