Merck & Co. agrees to sell consumer-care business to Bayer AG for $14.2B

Nathan Andrada – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

New York, NY, United States (4E) – Bayer AG will purchase Merck & Co.’s consumer-care business, which includes the nasal decongestant Afrin and allergy-treatment Claritin, for $14.2bn.

The transaction, which includes collaboration on the development of certain drugs, will give Merck the opportunity to focus on its therapeutic areas, such as drugs for diabetes and cancer as well as vaccines.

With the completion of the deal, Bayer will become the world’s second-largest seller of over-the-counter products and the biggest in North America, where the Merck business generated about 70 percent of its sales in 2013.

Meanwhile, Bayer said the deal makes it the second-biggest seller of over-the-counter products in the world and the biggest one in North America, where the Merck business generated about 70% of its sales last year.

In January, Merck said it was looking to sell the consumer segment. The company expects the deal to be finalized in the second half of this year, with after-tax proceeds of between $8bn and $9bn.

The deal will be financed by a bridge facility provided by BNP Paribas, Bank of America and Mizuho that will be syndicated to a bigger group of lenders, Bayer said.

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