Merck KGaA buying control of Serono

Germany's Merck KGaA is buying the Bertarelli family's 64.5 percent interest in Switzerland's Serono. The $13.3 billion deal gives the family a 20 percent premium over yesterday's stock price. Serono also announced that its oral cladribine for multiple sclerosis had been fast tracked by the FDA. The family had long signaled its interest in finding a buyer for its stake in the biotech company, but recently had appeared to back off that strategy after failing to put a deal together. Goldman Sachs went looking for a buyer in December and just months later Serono announced it was looking for new acquisitions. This deal appears to have been heavily influenced by Merck's decision to keep Serono's headquarters in Geneva, where the family has a high profile.

- here's the AFX report on the deal
- and Swissinfo has some insight to offer as well

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