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Schering Plough Corporation

Bayer to buy Merck's consumer business for $14.2 billion

Bayer to buy Merck's consumer business for $14.2 billion

Germany's Bayer plans to buy U.S.-based Merck & Co.'s consumer health business, creating a combined medicine cabinet of household names such as Bayer's aspirin and Merck's Claritin allergy pills.

The $14.2-billion deal announced Tuesday would vault Bayer atop the nonprescription medicine business across North and Latin America. It would make Bayer No. 1 worldwide in skin and gastrointestinal products, a strong No. 2 in the huge cold and allergy category, and No. 3 in pain relievers.

"We are combining two highly complementary businesses with virtually no overlap that will improve our product position over multiple categories," said Marijn Dekkers, Bayer's chief...