Bayer aims to buy animal-health spinoff

Bayer is on the verge of bolstering its animal-health business with one or more of the veterinary units on the market because of pharma megamergers, the Financial Times Deutschland reports. It's not a huge surprise; Bayer execs said last month during an analyst meeting that they'd been mulling growth-by-acquisition in animal health. And as antitrust regulators pore over the Pfizer-Wyeth merger and Merck-Schering deal, both market-watchers and the companies themselves have suggested that animal-health sales could be on the way.

Merck has said it's considering getting out of Merial, the animal-health venture it shares with Sanofi-Aventis. Or it might jettison Schering-Plough's animal health unit, Intervet, which brings in about $3 billion annually. Pfizer has indicated that it's considering selling off chunks of its vet-med business, and/or Wyeth's as well. Together, Wy-Pfi's animal health operations bring in about $4 billion annually, the FTD says.

Apparently, Bayer has tried to nab Intervet before; FTD reports that the company negotiated for the company with its then-owner, Akzo Nobel, but failed to come to terms. But that prior interest doesn't necessarily put Schering's animal business at the top of Bayer's list. CEO Werner Wenning has said that he's not interested in any major deals, so that could make Pfizer/Wyeth's piecemeal sell-off more attractive. 

- check out the Reuters news
- read the FTD story (in German)