Merck KGaA weighs options for consumer health business, including sale

Merck KGaA said Tuesday that it is "preparing strategic options" for its consumer health business, including a potential full or partial sale of the division, as well as strategic partnerships. The company indicated that the move is an "important step" in executing its science and technology focused strategy.

CEO Stefan Oschmann remarked "we have continued to transform Merck over the last years into a leading science and technology company," adding "thereby we regularly review our portfolio in the context of our innovation driven strategy." Oschmann noted that the company's healthcare segment "largely focuses on its biopharma pipeline."

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According to Merck, the consumer health business generated sales of 860 million euros ($1 billion) in 2016. However, Belén Garijo, CEO of the company's healthcare unit, said "we expect increasing internal constraints to fund the business to reach the required scale." Garijo added "fully anticipating this, we are preparing strategic options."

Merck indicated that it is at an early stage in the process and no final decision has been taken. The company said "any possible proceeds from a potential transaction would be used to deliver on [our] overall financial targets."

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