Johnson & Johnson plans to split into two companies, separating consumer health business

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Johnson & Johnson announced plans Friday to split its consumer health business from its pharmaceutical and medical device operations, sending shares soaring in premarket trading.

The separation will result in two companies: one focused on its household products, such as Aveeno and Neutrogena skin care products and Listerine, and another focused on its riskier prescription drugs and medical division, including the division that makes its highly successful Covid-19 vaccine. Its consumer products division will also inherit litigation stemming from lawsuits over claims that the company’s Johnson’s Baby Powder causes cancer, allegations the company has vehemently denied.

“Throughout our storied history, Johnson & Johnson has demonstrated that we can deliver results that benefit all our stakeholders, and we must continually be evolving our business to provide value today, tomorrow and in the decades ahead,” outgoing CEO Alex Gorsky said in a statement.

The company said it hopes to complete the transaction in 18 to 24 months. The pharmaceutical division would retain the name Johnson & Johnson and have J&J’s incoming CEO Joaquin Duato at its helm. Duato is taking over the role in January as previously planned.

Shares of Johnson & Johnson were up more than 4% in premarket trading after the announcement.

Johnson & Johnson was already undergoing a major transition, as CEO Alex Gorsky has previously announced that he will step down in January. Joaquin Duato, who was tapped as Gorsky’s successor, will lead the new J&J following the spinoff, the company said Friday.

Additionally, the company said it planned to keep its total dividend “at least at the same level” following the change. J&J currently sports a divided yield of about 2.6%.

The announcement is the second time this week that a major U.S. company has announced a plan to split itself, following General Electric.

The news was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

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