Bayer AG (BAYN) moved a step closer to winning Merck & Co. (MRK)’s consumer business after lead rival Reckitt Benckiser Group Plc (RB/) walked away from the deal because the asset became too expensive.
“We are a highly disciplined acquirer with strict return metrics, which we will not break,” Reckitt Benckiser Chief Executive Officer Rakesh Kapoor said in an e-mailed statement.
Bayer offered to pay cash and swap assets from animal-health, pharmaceuticals, and oncology businesses or create a joint-venture with Merck that includes these, two people familiar with the matter said, asking not to be identified discussing private information. A heated contest between the two bidders means Merck may fetch more than $14 billion in a sale of the the unit, well over early estimates of its value, the people said earlier today.
By Manuel Baigorri, David Welch and Naomi Kresge