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EU OKs Merck/Schering deal

This article was originally published in The Tan Sheet

Executive Summary

The European Commission Oct. 23 approves the pending Merck/Schering-Plough merger, and the firms say they expect the transaction to close this year. During Merck's fiscal 2009 third-quarter earnings call Oct. 22, Merck President and CEO Richard Clark told analysts the firm's OTC joint venture with Johnson & Johnson, which covers U.S. and Canadian business, will remain separate from the Merck/Schering business, but he declined to say whether possible switches of Schering's existing OTC products would have to go through the joint venture. Pending U.S. regulatory approval, Merck will purchase S-P for $41.1 billion (1"The Tan Sheet" March 16, 2009). ... Schering consumer sales flat: MiraLAX sales nearly doubled in the third quarter to $31 million and the laxative is "running neck and neck" with Procter & Gamble's Metamucil, Schering CFO Robert Bertolini says Oct. 22. But the consumer health care business grew only 2 percent to $282 million, hampered by lower sales of OTC Claritin (down 7 percent), sun care (down 19 percent) and foot care (down 5 percent), the Kenilworth, N.J., firm said. Net sales in the July-September period dipped 2 percent to $4.5 billion, and net income fell 17 percent to $477 million

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