P&G To Acquire German Merck's Consumer Health Unit For $ 4.2 Billion

Posted April 21, 2018

Procter & Gamble Co. has agreed to purchase the consumer health business of the German drug maker, Merck. Its top brands include Neurobion, Dolo-Neurobion, Femibion, Nasivin, Bion3, Seven Seas and Kytta, along with many others, and these are sold primarily in Europe, Latin America and Asia.

Net sales rose 4.3 percent to $16.28 billion, helped by demand for skincare products Olay and SK-II, as well as fabric and home care products such as Febreze. "We have large businesses in several hard markets". Earlier, it was reported that Merck's consumer health division had made price demands of almost 4 billion Euros that had deterred firms such as Perrigo, Bain, Cinven, and Nestle, the initial bidders for the business, from going ahead with the purchase.

But intense price competition online, mainly from Amazon, as well as cheaper store-brand products have weighed on profits in the United States and other Western markets. For the full year 2017, net sales of the Consumer Health business amounted to Euro 911 million (USD$1.1 billion).

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German company Merck KGaA provides a broad range of OTC products and is active across 44 countries and includes more than 900 products.

"Expectations were coming down entering the quarter, but organic sales growth was likely still below what investors were looking for", Wells Fargo analyst Bonnie Herzog said.

Merck said a year ago that is was mulling over the future of its consumer health division, and that a sale would help it execute its science and technology focused strategy. Merck will continue to focus on its pharmaceutical business.

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Merck has stated that the proceeds from the acquisition deal will help the firm minimize its debt, thereby offering more flexibility in running the company's operations. Overall, P&G said it expects sales to rise about 3 percent, including acquisitions and divestitures.

Teva said the terms of the agreement to terminate the joint venture with P&G would not be disclosed and the dissolution was amicable. The company has announced that the sale of its consumer health unit does not alter its business objective of selling the prescribed medicines such as Erbitux for treating cancer and Rebif for multiple sclerosis treatment.

Thursday, P&G said the two companies had inked a pact that will send Merck's portfolio from Germany to Cincinnati, Ohio, for €3.4 billion ($4.21 billion).

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P&G will acquire Merck's majority shareholding in Merck (India) and make a mandatory tender offer to minority shareholders.