Sanofi and Boehringer Ingelheim have all but completed their mammoth asset swap, just over a year after they began negotiating the deal.
Valued at a combined total of €21.8bn, the transaction saw Sanofi exchange its animal health business, Merial, for Boehringer's consumer healthcare business, CHC.
Boehringer's animal health unit is now the second-largest in the business, only surpassed by Pfizer spin-out Zoetis. It will be led by Dr Joachim Hasenmaier, a member of Boehringer's board of managing directors, and based at a new operational centre in Lyon, France.
Hubertus von Baumbach, chairman of Boehringer's board of managing directors, said: “This important achievement is the result of a mutually beneficial agreement implemented in the spirit of a shared vision.
“Driven by the desire to serve the needs of our customer, and enabled by value of our innovative product portfolio, the combined strength of the two organisations will improve Boehringer Ingelheim's competitiveness in the animal health business segment that is so strategically important to our company.”
Meanwhile, Sanofi's acquisition of CHC was approved by the European Commission in August last year, and the firm's executive vice president of consumer healthcare Alan Main will continue to oversee the expanded unit.
The French group has previously said it believes the integration of the consumer healthcare business will make it the primary player in the sector, ahead of Bayer who bought Merck & Co's consumer health unit for $14.2bn in 2014.
Olivier Brandicourt, chief executive of Sanofi, said: “With this successful closing of the business swap with Boehringer Ingelheim, Sanofi is building a strong and innovative CHC Global Business Unit.
“The integration of Boehringer Ingelheim's highly skilled CHC team and its well established products, allows Sanofi to enhance our positions in core strategic categories in a promising CHC market.
“Indeed this market serves the growing expectations of consumers to be more in control of their own health and wellness.”
However, the deal isn't entirely finished. The firms are still waiting for regulatory approval for Boehringer's acquisition of Merial in Mexico and for the Merial-CHC swap in India, but anticipate closure in those markets early this year.