Reckitt Benckiser Ends Discussions for Merck’s OTC Business

Reckitt Benckiser, which reported earlier this week that it was in discussions with Merck & Co. for Merck’s over-the-counter business, issued a statement on April 30, 2014, to say “it is no longer in active discussion regarding an offer for Merck's consumer health business.”

In January 2014, Merck announced that it was evaluating the respective role of its animal-health and consumer-care businesses as part of the company’s strategic evaluation. Global sales of its consumer-care business was $1.9 billion in 2013, a decline of 3% compared with 2012, including a 1% unfavorable effect from foreign exchange. Key products include over-the-counter, foot care and sun care products such as Claritin antihistamines, MiraLAX for the relief of occasional constipation, Dr. Scholl's foot care products, and Coppertone suncare products.

Reckitt Benckiser’s most recent large-scale acquisition was the $1.4-billion acquisition of Schiff Nutrition International, a provider of branded vitamins, nutrition supplements and nutrition bars, in 2012. In 2013, Reckitt had two important deals: a $482-million three-year collaboration with Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) for the exclusive rights to sell, distribute, and market specified BMS OTC brands in Latin America, with an option to buy at the end of the collaboration and the acquisition of Guilong Pharmaceuticals to expand into the market for traditional medicines in China.

Source: Reckitt Benckiser

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