Proctor & Gamble buys Merck’s consumer health care unit for $4.2B

Proctor & Gamble buys Merck's consumer health care unit for $4.2B

April 19 (UPI) — U.S. manufacturer Proctor & Gamble announced Thursday it will acquire the consumer health unit of pharmaceutical company Merck, in a $4.2 billion deal.

The acquisition will allow Cincinnati-based Proctor & Gamble more access to world markets in over-the-counter consumer items.

P&G distributes a number of common household products — like Vicks, Metamucil, Pepto-Bismol, Crest and Oral-B, brands that account for about 12 percent of total company revenue and will now be available in more countries.

The consumer health unit of Merck, based in Darmstadt, Germany, sells about 900 products –including Femibion, Neurobion and Nasivin vitamins.

The Merck division has been for sale for several months, and the price P&G announced suggests Merck lowered its asking price from nearly $5 billion.

The deal is the largest P&G acquisition in years, WCPO-TV, Cincinnati reported. The company has sold off under-performing brands in the past decade, and about 3,300 Merck employees could move to P&G.

A P&G statement Thursday said the company will end a similar relationship with India’s Teva Pharmaceutical Industries.

Part of the deal includes P&G’s purchase of a majority stake in Merck’s consumer health care business in India, Merck Ltd.

The acquisition is expected to close by the end of this year, pending regulatory approval.