Merck says consumer or animal health move possible in 2014

Mon Jan 13, 2014 9:01am EST

Jan 13 (Reuters) - Merck & Co said on Monday it is pursuing strategic options for its animal health and consumer businesses and expects to complete any action it takes this year.

The company could "determine the most value-creating option for each and could reach different decisions about the two businesses," Merck said in a statement ahead of a presentation at an investor conference later in the day.

In November, Merck said it was looking at options for separating these businesses. Last week, Reuters and other outlets reported that bankers said Novartis AG was discussing swapping its animal health and human vaccines businesses for Merck's over-the-counter products unit.

Merck shares were trading at $49.96 before the bell, up from $49.86 at Friday's close.

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