Merck plots HQ move to former Schering site

Merck ($MRK) is saying "so long" to Whitehouse Station, NJ. The drugmaker says it will move its global headquarters to nearby Summit, NJ, after 20 years there. The Summit site already houses 1,800 people working in several different Merck groups, and moving the HQ there will save space and money.

It's part of the real estate consolidation Merck has been working on since it merged with Schering-Plough in 2009. Merck says it chose the Summit site--a legacy Schering facility--for its proximity to transportation hubs and "desirable urban centers." Plus, it has space to spare.

The real estate downsizing concurs with Merck's job-cutting plans, which involve up to 13,000 jobs by the end of 2015. The headquarters move will begin in 2014, with completion scheduled for mid-2015.

The 2,000 or so employees and contractors who now work in Whitehouse Station will either move to Summit or to other nearby facilities, including sites in Branchburg and Cokesbury, NJ, the company said in a statement. The HQ staffers will join employees in R&D, manufacturing, animal health and consumer care now operating in Summit.

"The relocation of our headquarters will help us achieve our future vision, reduce the size of our operating footprint, and increase agility as we adapt to our changing business environment," CEO Kenneth C. Frazier said.

- read the statement from Merck

Special Report: Merck - Top 10 pharma layoffs of 2011