Merial moves to Boehringer Ingelheim in massive “swap” deal

The German-based pharmaceutical company, Boehringer Ingelheim (BI), which already has major health product and service commitments to the pig industry, has acquired the animal health company, Merial, in a swap deal with the French-based Sanofi group.

The deal, which has been in negotiation since December 2015, consists of an exchange of Sanofi’s animal health business “Merial” and BI’s consumer healthcare “CHC” business. Sanofi will also receive €4.7 bn (£3.9 bn) to reflect the difference in value of the two businesses.

BI says the move with potentially enable it to become one of the largest global players in the animal health segment.

“This is a win for Boehringer Ingelheim and Sanofi alike,” said BI chairman, Prof Dr Andreas Barner. “Moreover, it is one of the most significant steps in our corporate history, and demonstrates the consistent orientation of our business towards innovation-driven sectors.

“As a research based pharmaceutical company, we will substantially enhance our position in the future market for animal health and will prospectively be one of the largest global players in this segment.”

The company also said combining Merial with its existing complementary portfolios and technology platforms in anti-parasitics, vaccines and pharmaceutical specialties will put the combined company into a more competitive position in the key growth segments of the industry and bring more value and innovation to customers globally.

It also forecast that the new BI animal health business will more than double its sales (over the previous business) to approx. €3.8 bn (£3.15 bn).

Prior to the swap, Merial was described as a world-leading, innovation-driven animal health company, providing a comprehensive range of products that focus on disease prevention and overall health and wellness in animals. The company has three main business areas: pets, farm animals, and veterinary public health, and its health solutions target more than 200 diseases and conditions across a variety of species. Merial employs 6,900 people and operates in more than 150 countries worldwide. 

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