Germany's Bayer to buy Merck consumer business

Germany's Bayer says it plans to buy Merck & Co's consumer care business for $14.2 billion

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FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) -- Germany's Bayer plans to buy U.S. drug company Merck & Co.'s non-prescription medicine and consumer care business for $14.2 billion, gaining products such as Claritin allergy pills, Coppertone sun lotion and Dr. Scholl's footcare products.

Bayer CEO Marijn Dekkers said Tuesday that the proposed deal "marks a major milestone on our path towards global leadership in the attractive non-prescription medicines business."

The company said the deal would make it the leader in over-the-counter products in North and Latin America. Bayer already has a major non-prescription division whose brands include Aleve, Alka-Seltzer and One-A-Day vitamins. Bayer also makes prescription drugs, industrial materials and farm chemicals.

Bayer AG said the combined business would be headquartered at Bayer's site in Whippany, New Jersey. Merck's consumer business has about 2,250 employees and is based in New Jersey.

Merck & Co., Inc. is headquartered in Whitehouse Station, New Jersey, and is different from Germany drug company Merck KGaA.

Bayer said it also has entered an agreement with Merck to cooperate on developing and selling drugs known as sGC modulators, which have potential for treating heart failure and pulmonary hypertension. Merck would initially paying Bayer $1 billion under the and further payments contingent on sales.

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Moulson contributed from Berlin.

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