Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health and Merial may become a joint venture within the next year, likely creating the largest global company in animal health.
Intervet/Schering-Plough and Merial belong to Merck and Sanofi-aventis, respectively. Merck and Sanofi-aventis announced in March that they plan to combine their animal health businesses.
Previously, Merck and Sanofi-aventis had co-owned Merial as a joint venture. Sanofi-aventis bought out Merial when Merck acquired Intervet/Schering-Plough.
The new joint venture of Intervet/Schering-Plough and Merial is subject to antitrust review in the United States and other countries, but Merck and Sanofi-aventis expect to complete the transaction in the next 12 months.
In 2009, Intervet/Schering-Plough had sales of $2.74 billion, while Merial had sales of $2.55 billion. Intervet/Schering-Plough has more of a focus on production animals and vaccines, and it has a strong presence in Europe and emerging markets. Merial focuses more on companion animals and parasiticides, and it has a strong presence in North America and Brazil. Each business has thousands of employees worldwide.
"I am convinced that, together, we will create strong value in bringing broader and improved offerings in both pet and production animal segments," said Christopher A. Viehbacher, chief executive officer of Sanofi-aventis.
The global animal health market had total sales of $19.2 billion as of 2008, according to Vetnosis, a research and consulting firm.