The $14.2bn acquisition of Merck’s consumer care business by German pharmaceutical giant Bayer has spun out roles for a clutch of leading US law firms, as Sullivan & Cromwell advises longstanding client Bayer opposite Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson; Morgan, Lewis & Bockius; and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton for Merck.
At Fried Frank corporate partners David Shine and Abigail Bomba took the lead for US healthcare corporation Merck. The dealmakers worked alongside antitrust and competition partner Peter Guryan, executive compensation and employee benefits partners Amy Blackman and Donald Carleen, IP and technology partner Daniel Glazer and tax partners Michael Alter and Robert Cassanos.
Morgan Lewis’s team for Merck included a trio of business and finance partners: Alan Leeds; Randall Sunberg and David Glazer. The team also included the practice group leader of the firm’s antirust practice Scott Stempel, fellow antitrust partner Harry Robins and Frankfurt-based business and finance partner Nils Rahlf.
Cleary Gottlieb advised Merck on the non-US antitrust aspects of its sale. The Brussels-based Cleary Gottlieb team is led by partner Romano Subiotto QC, assisted by associates Katia Colitti, Andrew Leyden and Vladimir Novak.
Sullivan advised long standing client Bayer on its multi-billion dollar acquisition, with a team led by New York-based Matthew Hurd, who co-heads the firm’s healthcare and life sciences group. Sullivan has advised the German pharma giant on a string of US acquisitions, including last year’s now completed $1.1bn cash tender offer for Californian contraceptive company Conceptus.
In an increasingly buoyant transactional market, the pharma industry has been particularly active, as seen most recently with Pzifer’s record £63bn bid for the UK’s AstraZeneca.
Merck itself was in an acquisitive mode last year when it made a £1.57bn cash offer to buy AZ Electronic Material, when Allen & Overy (A&O) advised Merck with a team led by corporate partners Richard Browne and Michael Ulmer alongside Luxembourg corporate head Mark Feider. Clifford Chance advised AZ.
A&O also advised Novartis on its sale late last year of its blood transfusion diagnostics unit to Barcelona-based Grifols for an estimated $1.68bn.