May 6 - Merck's $14.2 billion sale of its consumer care business to Bayer will allow it to focus on developing new drugs to fill its pipeline. Fred Katayama reports.
Orange is the new black for Bayer. It's buying tanning lotion Coppertone, allergy drug Claritin, and other brands making up Merck's consumer care business for more than 14 billion dollars. The sale allows Merck to focus on developing new drugs. It needs to rapidly build up its aging pipeline. The deal will make Bayer the world's second largest maker of over-the-counter products behind Johnson & Johnson. The German maker of aspirin and Alleve plans to actively market those newly acquired products overseas, where Merck has had a small presence. Bayer also agreed to sell Merck some rights to cardiovascular drugs, for which Merck will pay up to $2.1 billion. It's the latest in a frenzy of deals sweeping the pharmaceutical sector. Novartis is forming a consumer healthcare venture with GlaxoSmithKline based on a deal reached last month. Pfizer and its target, AstraZeneca, will be called before the British parliament to discuss the potential takeover deal.