Merck, part owner of Merial, has announced a $41.1 billion agreement to merge with Schering-Plough.
The new company will be under the Merck name. Company leaders had not revealed any specific plans as of press time for Merial, a freestanding animal health business that Merck co-owns with Sanofi-aventis, or for Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health. Merial is an AVMA platinum sponsor.
Merial and Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health both offer antiparasitics, vaccines, and other products for companion animals, horses, and production animals. Parent companies Merck and Schering-Plough offer human biopharmaceuticals, including cholesterol medications through an existing joint venture.
"We are creating a strong, global health care leader built for sustainable growth and success," said Richard T. Clark, Merck's chief executive officer.
Merck will expand its global presence through the merger with Schering-Plough, which generates 70 percent of its revenues outside the United States.
Fred Hassan, Schering-Plough's executive officer, said, "By harnessing the strengths of both companies, the combined entity will be well-positioned to further deliver on our shared goal of discovering new therapies for patients to help them live healthier, happier lives."
Sales for Merck were $23.9 billion in 2008, a decrease of 1 percent from 2007. Sales for Schering-Plough were $18.5 billion, a 46 percent increase. The increase in Schering-Plough sales reflects the 2007 acquisition of Organon BioSciences, parent of Organon and Intervet—formerly the human and animal health businesses of Akzo Nobel.
Merck and Schering-Plough have instituted hiring freezes, but Merck expects that most Schering-Plough employees will remain after the merger.