Merck of Whitehouse Station, N.J., and France-based Sanofi-Aventis reported today that they have mutually decided not to create a new joint venture with their animal health businesses due to the “increasing complexity of implementing the proposed transaction.” As such, Merck’s Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health and Sanofi-Aventis’ Merial will continue to operate independently.
Merck and Sanofi-Aventis first announced their plans to combine the animal health businesses in March 2010. Since then, both companies have been working to create the proposed animal health joint venture, including submitting requests for the required antitrust reviews.
The complexity of the transaction was attributed to the nature and extent of the anticipated divestitures and the length of time necessary for the worldwide regulatory review process, according to the two companies.
Merck and Sanofi-Aventis further noted that ending their plan is in the best interest of their companies, respective shareholders and the employees of both companies.
The joint venture was anticipated to create the world’s largest animal health business, with an estimated market share of about 28 percent, compared to Pfizer’s roughly 20 percent market share, according to March 2010 figures.
Intervet/Schering-Plough ranked No. 2 and Merial No. 3 overall, with annual sales of $2.9 billion and $2.6 billion, respectively, in 2010.