Procter & Gamble pays €3.4B for Merck KGaA consumer health unit

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The Merck portfolio "brings a strong set of brands, products and capabilities" to P&G, added Steve Bishop, group president for global health care, "and provides an attractive and complementary footprint to further fuel growth".

The acquiring price for the Merck's business suggests that the Germany company has descended from the price demands of as much as four billion euros, which as per sources had deterred initial suitors like Nestle, Stada owners Bain and Cinven and Perrigo.

Procter & Gamble (P&G), whose stable of brands include Pampers diapers, Gillette razors and Vicks cough and cold products, said on Thursday that the acquisition had been agreed and would enable it to expand its portfolio of consumer healthcare products.

Several big drugmakers have been considering selling their consumer divisions, which typically have lower but more stable margins than the prescription pharmaceutical business.

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US -based P&G derived 12 percent of group sales, or $7.5 billion, from health care products past year, including Oral-B toothbrushes and toothpastes.

Teva said the terms of the agreement to terminate the JV with P&G would not be disclosed and that the dissolution was amicable. Merck put the consumer health unit on the market a year ago in order to focus its efforts on prescription drugs.

Merck said the transaction will be executed through the sale of Merck's shares in a number of legal entities as well as various asset sales.

"The deal, expected to close by June 2019, will bolster P&G's $7.5 billion health-care business with strong oral care and gastrointestinal brands with a fast-growing basket of overseas brands doing $1 billion a year in additional business in several over-the-counter categories", writes Alexander Coolidge for the Cincinnati Enquirer.

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It will issue guidance for 2018 to reflect the sale of the consumer healthcare business with it publishes first-quarter financial results on May 15, it said.

As part of the deal, P&G would buy a majority stake in the German company's Indian consumer health business, Merck Ltd, and subsequently make a mandatory tender offer to minority shareholders.

It is contemplated that approximately 3,300 employees, mainly from Consumer Health, will transition to P&G upon completion of the transaction, subject to prior works council consultation where required.

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