Novartis and Merck Negotiating $5B Asset Trade

Novartis AG is in talks with Merck & Co. to trade its animal-health and human vaccines businesses for the New Jersey drugmaker’s over-the-counter health-products unit, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Merck’s over-the-counter business, including Coppertone sunblock and Claritin allergy medicine, would complement Novartis’s preexisting consumer line-up.

In exchange, Merck would aquire Novartis' human vaccines unit and add Novartis' line of treatments for pets, farm animals and cultivated fish to its already successful animal-health portfolio. Merck says its animal-health business is currently the second-biggest in the industry, with $3.40 billion in sales in 2012.

Read the Bloomberg press release

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