In January of 2014, Merck Pharmaceuticals (MRK) announced its intention to sell off the company's consumer brands division, which includes well-known products like Claritin allergy pills and Coppertone sun protection products (see brands below). Merck acquired the division as part of their acquisition of Schering-Plough in 2009, and many experts expected the sell-off to occur, possibly as part of a joint venture or sales swap.
Merck's Decision to Sell Off
The company's consumer brands division was previously part of deal under consideration with Novartis AG for their vaccine and animal-health units. However, when the talks failed to produce a deal, Merck made it known that they would be willing to sell the consumer brands outright. The deal could fetch as much a $10 billion for the company, according to some estimates.
Merck's decision echoes an industry-wide trend to consolidate operations and concentrate on more revenue-rich areas of