Merck Consumer Unit Said to be Worth $14 Billion for Bayer
With UK consumer health giant Reckitt having bowed out of the race to acquire the consumer business of U.S. drugmaker Merck & Co, Germany's Bayer is said to be in exclusive negotiations to clinch a deal worth an expected $14 billion.
An announcement is expected in the next few days.
Among other things, the Merck portfolio includes branded skin and foot care products as well as an allergy remedy.
News agencies said the two sides have agreed to a deal in principle but details are still being worked out. It has been speculated that a deal could include cash and an exchange of assets, possibly structured as a joint venture.
Some reports said Bayer was prepared to cede its animal health business, allowing Merck to build up its veterinary portfolio, while others thought this was unlikely.
Several analysts urged Bayer CEO Marijn Dekkers to sell the group's engineering plastics business, Bayer MaterialScience - worth €11 billion in annual sales, to pay for the deal. At the annual general meeting in Cologne, Dekkers declined comment on any of the rumors.