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Anti-trust inquiry: Merck, Schering-Plough

The US FTC has requested that Merck & Co and Schering-Plough must provide additional information regarding their $41.1bn merger

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has requested that Merck & Co and Schering-Plough must provide additional information regarding their $41.1bn merger.

The query is mostly about the company's animal-health units and was reportedly "anticipated" by the New Jersey-based drugmakers which still plan to close the deal this year.

On June 3, Merck said that it planned to sell one of the companies' animal health units to help fund the acquisition and reduce overlap. If a sale doesn't settle FTC concerns about competition in the animal drug industry, Merck or Schering-Plough may have to put more products on the market.

Analyst David Moskowitz of Caris & Co said: "There's going to be many more products for sale. It could affect pricing in the sense that Merck really wants to get those approvals." He added that antitrust concerns are unlikely to prevent the merger. "Merck absolutely needs to get this done to produce growth over the next couple of years." 

23rd June 2009

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