Reckitt Benckiser No Longer Pursuing Merck OTC; Bayer is Top Suitor

Reckitt Benckiser Group announced on April 30 that it is no longer in active discussion with Merck & Co regarding buying its consumer health business.

This makes Bayer the leading contender for Merck's $14 billion consumer health business. Reuters sources reported on Tuesday that Bayer offered to swap its animal health assets, plus pay the remainder of the acquisition price in cash, for Merck's consumer business.

It appears as though following Bayer's offer, Reckitt Benckiser backed down, telling Reuters that the aquisition no longer fit its "strict return metrics."

Merck has not made a final decision on the sale. Reuters sources are also currently reporting that Merck is separately considering selling a large portfolio of off-patent drugs with a potential $15B pricetag, as the drugmakers continues its asset disposal efforts.

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