A strong trading start for Kenvue Inc. — the unit of Johnson & Johnson that makes brands including Tylenol — is showing similar pharmaceutical giants the benefits of spinning off their consumer health divisions.
The stock’s 23% rally in just two weeks after its $4.4 billion initial public offering on May 3 is a dramatic demonstration of investor demand for profitable businesses amid a dearth of traditional IPOs.
The success could very well drive J&J peers like Sanofi and Bayer AG to separate their consumer businesses. Kenvue’s shares are now valued at a higher earnings multiple that’s more in-line with the makers of popular household products like Colgate-Palmolive Co. and Procter & Gamble Co., indicating that there’s value to be unlocked in these businesses.
It’s a sentiment shared by Jim Osman, founder of special situations research firm The Edge Consulting Group. He considers Kenvue “an ideal example” for the trend of large companies using IPOs as a preferred route “to divest their divisions.”