Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) has announced that it will name its consumer health division “Kenvue.”
Earlier this year, GSK (NYSE:GSK) made a similar move by naming its consumer healthcare segment “Haleon.” That moniker fuses the old English word ‘hale’ with the name “Leon.” The first word means ‘healthy’ while the second refers to “strength.”
Haleon became a separate unit in July 2022.
Similarly, Kenvue brings together the words “ken,” meaning “knowledge,” and “vue,” meaning “sight.”
Johnson & Johnson has signaled its intent to spin off Kenvue by November 2023.
The remaining company, headquartered in New Brunswick, New Jersey, would continue to focus on its drug and device businesses.
“Unveiling the Kenvue brand is a defining moment for our stakeholders and an important part of the planned separation,” said Thibaut Mongon, CEO Designate, Kenvue, in a news release. “We breathe life into some of the world’s most iconic and beloved brands every day, so we harnessed that same expertise, love, and energy into developing our new corporate identity.”
“Today’s announcement is another milestone for the Consumer Health business,” said Johnson & Johnson CEO Joaquin Duato in a statement. “Kenvue is poised to thrive as a standalone company with a leading portfolio of brands consumers love and trust. I’m confident in this team and excited to see what the future holds.”
Pending regulatory approval, Kenvue would become one of the largest consumer health companies. Its portfolio would include brands such as Aveeno, Band-Aid, Listerine, Neutrogena and Tylenol.
A more than $14-billion-a-year business
In 2021, Johnson & Johnson’s consumer health unit generated revenue of $14.6 billion.
By contrast, its pharmaceutical unit Janssen had $52.1 billion in sales.
While Johnson & Johnson’s consumer unit has faced lawsuits in recent years related to talcum powder, its drug division has faced a wave of litigation related to opioids. Johnson & Johnson recently agreed to pay $39 million to settle New Hampshire opioid allegations. It has reached similar deals with several other U.S. states.
After announcing the plan, the company’s stock ticked up 0.86% to $166.36.
Criticism over J&J’s ‘Texas two-step’
J&J has faced scrutiny over a complex maneuver nicknamed the “Texas two-step.” Critics allege that J&J is seeking to shield itself from billions of dollars worth of lawsuit payouts involving people who claim J&J’s talc-based baby powder caused them to develop cancer.
A recent New Yorker expose detailed how J&J created a new LLC called LTL Management and then moved the talc liability over to LTL. The new LLC has since filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Calling the bankruptcy a “shell game,” plaintiffs in the talc lawsuits have appealed — with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit holding expedited hearings this month.