Mylan seeks deal for Merck’s consumer products unit


Generic drug maker Mylan is in advanced discussions to acquire Merck’s consumer health business after other bidders failed to meet the German company’s price expectations, people familiar with the matter said.

“Although it’s Mylan’s policy to not comment on rumors or speculation, given the egregious inaccuracy of reports issued this morning, the company is compelled to confirm that the Reuters article is untrue,” Mylan said in a statement on Friday.

A Mylan spokeswoman declined to offer details on what in the Reuters story was inaccurate. Merck declined to comment.

The precise value of Mylan’s offer could not be established but the sources said the companies were negotiating a price between 3.5 billion and 4 billion euros ($4.3 billion-$4.9 billion).

There is no certainty that Mylan will secure a deal, the sources said, adding that Merck had also been in talks with private equity groups on the asset.

The sources, who spoke this week, asked not to be identified because the deliberations are confidential.

Mylan shares fell as much as 3.7 percent on Friday but pared losses to trade down 1.2 percent at $40.75 in the afternoon.

Mylan’s talks with Merck came as other contenders for the business, including Nestle and Reckitt Benckiser, dropped out of the bidding.

Merck said last year it was looking to sell its consumer healthcare business, which has annual sales of about $1 billion, to help fund its research into prescription drugs.

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