Merck scouts buyers for animal-health ops

Merck is shopping its animal-health assets for a post-merger sale. Up for grabs: Either Merck's 50 percent stake in Merial or Intervet Schering-Plough Animal Health, according to the Wall Street Journal. The former could fetch around $5 billion; the latter, $6 billion to $8 billion.

Essentially, Merck wants to show antitrust regulators that its $41 billion buyout of Schering-Plough won't give it too much sway over the animal-medication industry. A company spokeswoman confirmed that Merck is scouting for buyers, but says the company hasn't made any decisions yet. And she stressed that Merck wants to stay in the animal-health biz.

Potential buyers? Several, including Novartis, Bayer, and Boehringer Ingelheim, sources told the WSJ. Then there's Sanofi-Aventis; CEO Chris Viehbacher (photo) has said he's interested in growing the company's animal health operations. And Eli Lilly chief John Lechleiter also has said he wants to expand in animal health.

- read the WSJ story