Suitors losing interest in Merck consumer health sale

Feb. 5, 2018

Another potential suitor for Merck’s consumer health unit — food giant Nestle — has walked away from the bidding after failing to reach mutually agreeable terms, according to Reuters sources.

Merck announced it was exploring options for its consumer unit last September, citing the need for further funds to continue its research into prescription drugs to remain competitive.

Merck initially tapped Nestle to discuss a possible consumer joint venture but instead decided to launch an auction process. Generic drugmaker Perrigo, German drug firm Stada, and British consumer goods giant Reckitt Benckiser also reportedly joined Nestle in the bidding process.

Now, according to Reuters, bidders are losing interest, put off by Merck’s price expectations of about $4.99 billion and distracted by the auction for rival Pfizer’s consumer health business.