You choose, we deliver
If you are interested in this story, you might be interested in others from The Journal Gazette. Go to www.journalgazette.net/newsletter and pick the subjects you care most about. We'll deliver your customized daily news report at 3 a.m. Fort Wayne time, right to your email.

Business

  • Jobless rate falls in 34 states
    WASHINGTON – Unemployment rates fell in 34 U.S. states in October, a sign that steady hiring this year has been broadly dispersed through most of the country.
  • Ford's better idea: 26 mpg pickup
    DEARBORN, Mich. — Ford said Friday that its new aluminum-bodied F-150 pickup will get up to 26 mpg on the highway, making it the most fuel-efficient gas-powered full-size pickup.
  • China cuts interest rates
    BEIJING – China’s central bank unexpectedly slashed interest rates Friday to re-energize the world’s No.
Advertisement

Bayer to buy Merck’s consumer line

– Germany’s Bayer plans to buy U.S.-based Merck & Co.’s consumer health business, creating a combined medicine cabinet of household names from Bayer’s aspirin to Merck’s Claritin allergy pills.

The $14.2 billion deal announced Tuesday would vault Bayer AG atop the nonprescription medicine business across North and Latin America. It would make Bayer No. 1 worldwide in skin and gastrointestinal products, a strong No. 2 in the cold and allergy category and No. 3 in pain relievers.

“We are combining two highly complementary businesses with virtually no overlap that will improve our product position over multiple categories,” Bayer CEO Marijn Dekkers said.

Merck, widely considered the most research-driven U.S. pharmaceutical company, would divest a slow-growing business it inherited in 2009 when it bought Schering-Plough Corp. to get its experimental prescription medicines.

Bayer, which invented aspirin more than a century ago, already has a major over-the-counter division whose brands include Aleve pain reliever, Alka-Seltzer and One-A-Day vitamins. It would add Merck’s Claritin, the Coppertone sun-care line, Dr. Scholl’s foot-care products and Miralax laxative.

The transaction is part of a recent surge in pharmaceutical industry deals. Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier said in January that he was evaluating options for Merck’s consumer and animal health businesses, both units without enough scale to grow quickly.

On Tuesday, Merck said it would use the sale proceeds to invest in business areas with the highest growth potential and beef up its drug pipeline with “external assets.”

Merck is a different company from Merck KgaAof Darmstadt, Germany.

The American company is known as MSD, for Merck Sharp & Dohme, outside the U.S. and Canada.

The transaction, expected to close in the second half of 2014, requires regulatory approval. Bayer will borrow money to pay for the deal, which will bring it significant tax savings and about $200 million in savings on marketing and production costs by 2017.

Advertisement