GlaxoSmithKline has rejected three Unilever offers to buy its consumer goods division, including one worth £50b ($65b).
GSK said the proposals “fundamentally failed” to reflect the value of the division.
With a successful bid, Unilever – which owns Marmite, Dove and PG Tips – would add Sensodyne toothpaste and Panadol to its list of household brands.
Such a deal would be one of the biggest ever involving London-listed firms.
GSK said in a statement the most recent proposal from Unilever on 20 December contained an offer for £41.7bn in cash and £8.3bn in Unilever shares.
The global healthcare company, which has its headquarters in London, has already been preparing to separate its consumer goods division from its pharmaceutical business in the middle of this year.
Unilever said in a statement the GSK consumer arm “would be a strong strategic fit as Unilever continues to reshape its portfolio”.
BBc report that the consumer goods giant, which became a fully British company in 2020 after previously being separated between the UK and the Netherlands, also approached Pfizer about the potential deal, since the American pharmaceutical giant owns a 34% stake in GSK’s consumer goods business.