M&As seems to be all the rage for pharmaceutical companies these days. First, GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis combined forces, swapping more than $20 billion in assets to merge elements of each company’s consumer drug business. Then, Pfizer bid more than $100 billion for competitor AstraZeneca, in an attempt to become one of the world’s largest drug companies. And now, German drug maker Bayer has followed that up by purchasing a key facet of Merck’s business, becoming one of the world’s largest providers of over-the-counter products as a result.
Bayer will purchase Merck’s consumer care business for $14.2 billion, the company announced on May 6. This will give Bayer control of many well-known brands, including Claritin, Coppertone, Afrin and Dr. Scholl’s.