Bloomberg: Novartis, Merck mulling $5B swap

NEW YORK — Novartis AG is reportedly in talks with Merck to swap its animal health and vaccines businesses for Merck’s OTC business, which includes the Coppertone sunscreen and Claritin allergy medicine brands, according to a Bloomberg report.

People familiar with the matter told Bloomberg that the two drugmakers could each trade about $5 billion in assets. The deal, however, hasn’t been finalized, and Novartis may choose another option.

The swap would make strategic sense for the companie,s as Merck’s OTC business would complement such Novartis consumer items as Lamisil anti-fungal treatment and Triaminic cold medicine. Sources told Bloomberg that Novartis would rather trade the veterinary unit and invest in an area in which it is already a leader.


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