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Merck buying Schering-Plough in $41.1B deal- AP
Close Admin:tanyunfei Time:2009-3-10 Views: 58
Merck hopes the cash-and-stock deal helps it better compete in a drug industry facing slumping sales, tough generic competition and intense pricing pressures. The deal announced Monday would unite the maker of asthma drug Singulair with the maker of allergy medicine Nasonex and form the world's second-largest prescription drugmaker. Merck and Schering are already partners in a pair of popular cholesterol fighters, Vytorin and Zetia, although concerns about safety and effectiveness have hurt sales. Shares of the two companies traded furiously after the announcement, with Schering's shares skyrocketing and Merck's dropping, typical for a company doing a big acquisition. At midday, Schering shares jumped $2.53, or 14.4 perent, to $20.16, and Merck shares fell $2.19, or 9.6 percent to $20.55. The deal comes only a few weeks after Lipitor maker Pfizer Inc. agreed to pay $68 billion for drugmaker Wyeth. Merck and Schering-Plough, along with most of their rivals, are eliminating thousands of jobs and restructuring operations to cut costs. "There'll be no immediate changes" in staffing, Merck spokeswoman Amy Rose told The Associated Press. "Eventually, we anticipate an approximate 15 percent reduction in the combined company's headcount," implying nearly 16,000 fewer jobs. The deal also would let Merck do the same thing Pfizer is trying to do with its acquisition -- diversify into a more broad-based health care company.

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