Sanofi and Boehringer Ingelheim are understood to have agreed a deal that will see the French pharmaceutical company’s Merial animal health business swapped for the family-owned German group’s consumer health operation, with Boehringer also paying 4.7 billion euros (£3.42 million) in cash.
The deal will make Boehringer the world’s second-largest animal health company.
The move come after two years that has seen a flurry of deal-making among pharmaceutical companies as they try to focus on a smaller number of businesses where they can establish a leading market position.
The deal is similar to a three-way trade involving Novartis, GlaxoSmithKline and Eli Lilly in 2014, which saw Novartis and GSK swap drug and consumer assets, while Lilly bought Novartis’ animal health arm.
By acquiring Boehringer’s consumer health business, Sanofi will have a stronger position in the over-the-counter market in cough, cold and digestive health remedies, although the deal will not include Boehringer’s consumer business in China.
Boehringer is Germany’s second largest drug maker, and the deal comes just a month after the family-owned company appointed Hubertus von Baumbach, a great-grandson of founder Albert Boehringer, as chief executive. It’s the first time in 25 years that a member of the family has led the firm.
It’s understood Boehringer will fund its cash contribution to the deal from the 8.5 billion euro (£6.19 million) cash pile it held at the end of 2014.