Merck plans to use the proceeds of its planned $14.2 billion consumer business sale to Bayer to beef up its pipeline, and the in-transition pharma giant isn't wasting any time, signing a billion-dollar deal with its new partner in a move to get its hands on some new cardiovascular drugs.
And the winner is Bayer. After months of speculation--and reported bids from the likes of Sanofi, Novartis and Reckitt Benckiser--the German drugmaker has snagged Merck's consumer health unit in a $14.2 billion deal. The consumer buyout solidifies Bayer's position at the top of the global OTC game and provides Merck with a cardio collaboration--along with a hefty chunk of change.
With Reckitt Beckiser out of the race for Merck's consumer health unit, Bayer is in exclusive talks with the New Jersey company, reports say, and it could have a $14 billion deal wrapped up in the next few days.
British consumer goods giant Reckitt Benckiser indicated Wednesday that bidding for the consumer healthcare unit of Merck had gotten out of hand, and so it decided to step aside. By dropping out it would appear to leave Germany's Bayer as the likely buyer for the unit.
When bidding wars get hot, that often springs information leaks. The latest is that there is some swap-and-shop haggling going on between Bayer and Merck over Merck's consumer health business. That, at least, is what sources are telling Reuters.
Germany's Bayer has been on the sidelines while other Big Pharma players have been striking deals to expand or refocus. But that may not be for long with Bayer working on a couple of deals and thinking about unloading its plastics business to help pay for an expansion.
Merck has entered the home stretch with its consumer unit sale, and the deal may be even bigger than previous reports have hinted. According to Reuters, the unit could go for close to $14 billion--a number that could climb even higher as front-runners Bayer and Reckitt Benckiser duke it out.
With a final bid deadline looming, Merck & Co.'s consumer health unit still has several big-name pharma suitors. But Reckitt Benckiser, the Irish consumer specialist, may end up snatching the prize, Bloomberg reports.
Johnson & Johnson and Bayer's Xarelto made its way to the front of the new-age anticoagulant pack not long after hitting the U.S. market, gaining ground from rival Pradaxa to head what has since become a three-horse race. And that's ground its makers aren't ready to cede.
Chalk up a win for Bayer KGaA in its running battle in India over a compulsory license granted to Natco to produce a cheap knock-off of its cancer drug Nexavar. The drug is being sold in India but a high court there says that is as far as the Indian drugmaker can go with it for now.