Merck has entered into a definitive agreement to sell its its consumer care business to Bayer AG for $14.2 billion.
Under the terms of the agreement, Bayer will acquire Merck’s existing OTC business, which includes the global trademark and prescription rights for products like Claritin and Afrin, as well as the company’s venerable Coppertone sun care brand, Lotrimin OTC itch products and Dr. Scholl’s footcare.
"Merck Consumer Care is a strong business with a portfolio of well-established product brands, such as Claritin, Afrin and Coppertone, that are leaders in their respective categories," said Dr. Marijn Dekkers, Bayer AG chairman of the board of management. "The combination of Merck Consumer Care's complementary portfolio of products and geographic reach with Bayer's will create a global consumer care business better positioned to serve consumers around the world. We look forward to having the talents of the Merck team, with their track record of innovation, joining our strong Consumer Care team at Bayer HealthCare."
The accord, which also includes other pharma related dealings, will significantly enghance Bayer’s consumer position, propelling it to leadership spots in new categories.
Upon completion of the acquisition, Bayer is expected to achieve global leadership positions in dermatology and gastrointestinals, two of the five most important non-prescription health care product categories, and advance to the number two position in the cold, allergy, sinus and flu category. Bayer will remain number two in nutritionals and number three in analgesics.
“We are adding significant scope and earnings power to a business that is already delivering strong margins and stable cash flows,” said Bayer CEO Dr. Marijn Dekkers.
The sale is expected to close in the second half of 2014.