As large assets swaps, mergers and acquisitions continue in the Pharma industry, Merck has announced it is selling its Consumer Care division to Bayer for $14B. The transaction will move Bayer into second place in consumer care, behind J&J. Merck will in turn will net about $8-9B in after-tax proceeds, and become more focused on innovative medicines. Speculation among analysts now turns to Merck’s animal health unit.
Industry-wide, several firms are pursuing a more consumer care-focused (and lower margin) diversified products business strategy, and others, the opposite. The recent flurry of transactions reflects that re-alignment of strategies.