Deal value: $14.2 billion
Deal status: Closed
Bayer CEO Marijn Dekkers has said more than once that his company is aiming to become the world's OTC leader. So when Merck ($MRK), like many of its Big Pharma brethren, looked like it might be ready to join many of its Big Pharma peers on the slim-down bandwagon, the German pharma was all ears.
But others were, too. After initial reports listed Sanofi ($SNY) among Merck's suitors, it came down to a two-horse race between Bayer and Reckitt Benckiser. While some expected a tooth-and-nail fight for the prize, Reckitt dropped out unexpectedly just as things were heating up, and Bayer came away victorious.
Many expected Bayer to offer up its animal health unit as part of the deal, which would have bolstered a Merck division CEO Kenneth Frazier has said he wants to strengthen, but the two companies instead agreed to develop and market a group of cardio drugs known as sGC modulators, which includes Bayer's new pulmonary artery hypertension drug, Adempas.
For Bayer, the pickup created a business that churned out $7.4 billion in combined 2013 sales, with Merck's unit responsible for $2.2 billion of that. That's good for second place behind the Novartis ($NVS) and GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) JV that's expected to launch next year once the companies have closed their own deal.
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-- Carly Helfand (email | Twitter)