Merck buys Serono

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Merck acquires Serono

In a €10 billion deal, Merck has bought the Swiss biotech company Serono, a move creating the seventh largest drug group in Europe and which may see a round of further acquisitions by big pharma companies.

The Merck-Serono deal comes hot on the heels of its failed attempt to buy Schering earlier this year in a hostile €14 billion takeover.

Under the terms of the agreement, Merck's Pharma Ethicals division will be combined with Serono to create Merck­Serono Biopharmaceuticals, which will be based in Geneva. Additionally, Merck will pay for Serono's 64.5% stake held by the Bertarelli family, and will make a public tender for the rest of the shares in November. "Both companies have a unique opportunity to achieve a competitive advantage through a combined R&D budget and a stronger product portfolio," said Michael Roemer, chairman of the executive board of Merck.