Are Merck & Co., Inc. and Novartis AG (ADR) a Match Made in Health Care Heaven?

Novartis is considering divesting its animal health business, but could a swap for Merck's consumer unit be the best option for this big pharma firm?

Dan Carroll
Dan Carroll
Jan 10, 2014 at 6:30PM
Health Care

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.