Merck, Bayer part of industry shakeup

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While it may look like last week's GSK-Novartis deal left Merck without a consumer business suitor, this week's news indicates otherwise: the Wall Street Journal reports that Reckitt Benckiser confirmed it “was in talks” to pick up the consumer health business, which includes OTC products such as allergy medication Claritin, foot care line Dr. Scholl's and the Coppertone sunscreen line.

Monday's report is part of a larger M&A industry push which also includes today's confirmation that Pfizer has been courting—and been refbuffed by—AstraZeneca, as well as Bloomberg's report that Bayer is considering selling its $10 billion plastics division to Evonik Industries AG. Bloomberg said the sale would “whittle down one of Europe's last remaining major pharmaceutical and chemicals conglomerates,” and would coincide with Bayer's push to expand its health and life sciences presence.

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