GlaxoSmithKline closer to splitting in two

Drugs giant GlaxoSmithKline says plans to split in two are "well underway".

The UK firm says it will separate next year into an over-the-counter medicines business, and one for prescription drugs.

It says the full plan will be revealed in June.

Chief Executive Emma Walmsley has spearheaded the move.

She wants to simplify operations, and deliver greater value for shareholders.

GSK strategy has been under the microscope after a report that U.S. activist investor Elliott has built up a big stake.

It may have a vision for the company at odds with that set out by Walmsley.

The latest news comes on the same day the firm posted results.

Turnover and adjusted earnings for the three months to March both fell, though the earnings came in a little ahead of forecasts.

Investments to prepare for the firm's division have hurt profits, but GSK hopes the streamlined operations will pay off in the longer term.

The resulting over-the-counter business will be merged with that of U.S. rival Pfizer.

GSK shares were trading broadly flat by lunchtime Wednesday (April 28).