Consolidation's been the name of the game around big pharma recently. Pfizer's (NYSE:PFE) made a name spinning off or selling its non-core businesses, selling its infant formula unit for nearly $12 billion back in 2012 and spinning off its animal health business into Zoetis (NYSE:ZTS) last year. It's been a strategy that has many investors thirsting for more from other top names around big pharma, and Novartis (NYSE:NVS), one of the best in the business, is considering its own take on the divestment strategy.

Novartis is looking at potentially selling or otherwise dealing its animal health business to interested suitors. Merck's (NYSE:MRK) one such company that's sniffing around to add to its own formidable animal health group. While the two companies could hash out a sale, Novartis has been rumored to be exploring another possibility. According to a report from Bloomberg, Novartis is considering swapping its animal health business for Merck's over-the-counter unit, home to several top brands such as Coppertone and Claritin.

Is this rumored deal the best bet for Novartis and Merck investors? In the video below, Motley Fool contributor Dan Carroll talks about how this trade could be a great option for both companies -- and what investors should be on the lookout for from both Novartis and Merck going forward.

Is big pharma the biggest buy in dividend investing?
Big pharma stocks like Novartis and Merck have long been top dividend picks for long term investors. These stocks are great options: One of the dirty secrets that few finance professionals will openly admit is the fact that dividend stocks as a group handily outperform their non-dividend paying brethren. However, knowing this is only half the battle. The other half is identifying which dividend stocks in particular are the best. With this in mind, our top analysts put together a free list of nine high-yielding stocks that should be in every income investor's portfolio. To learn the identity of these stocks instantly and for free, all you have to do is click here now.

Fool contributor Dan Carroll has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Compare Brokers