PHILADELPHIA, July 9 (Reuters) - The second round of bids for the animal health businesses being divested by Merck & Co Inc (MRK.N) and Schering Plough Corp SGP.N are due next week with a final decision expected by the end of July, sources familiar with the situation said.
Sanofi-Aventis (SASY.PA), Eli Lilly and Co (LLY.N), Bayer AG BAYG.DE, Novartis AG NOVN.VX and Boehringer Ingelheim of Germany submitted offers in recent weeks during the first round of bidding, sources said.
Pfizer Inc (PFE.N) and Wyeth WYE.N also are divesting animal health assets due to their pending $68 billion merger and that auction is expected to conclude by the end of the month, as well, said the same sources who were not authorized to speak to the media.
One complication of the Merck-Schering auction is the structure of the sale, one source said.
During the first round, bidders were able to submit offers for various assets since the sellers had not yet decided which businesses would be sold, one source said.
The decision would be made on whether to divest Merck or Schering’s animal health assets once the companies reviewed the bids, the source said. The companies must divest some animal health assets to appease regulators on their $41 billion merger.
Merck is a partner in the Merial joint venture with French drugmaker Sanofi, which has said it is interested in boosting its presence in animal health.
Merial’s products include Frontline flea and tick treatments for dogs and Ivomec, a medication used to kill parasites in livestock.
Schering also has an animal health business, which generated about $3 billion in sales last year, mostly from its Intervet business, which contributed $1.9 billion in revenues.
“We are exploring the opportunities open to us by evaluating the potential for divesting Schering-Plough’s animal health business or Merck’s interest in Merial,” said Merck spokeswoman Amy Rose said. “There have not been any decisions made at this point and it would be premature to speculate on the eventual outcome.”
Schering, Pfizer and Wyeth could not be immediately reached for comment. Boehringer Ingelheim, Eli Lilly, Novartis and Sanofi also could not be immediately reached for comment.
Reporting by Jessica Hall; Editing Bernard Orr For more M&A news and our DealZone blog, go to here