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Bayer, Reckitt among final contenders for Merck consumer health care unit

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By Reuters
Saturday, April 26, 2014, 8:57 p.m.

Merck & Co. Inc. is in the final stages of selling its consumer health care unit for nearly $14 billion, with Bayer AG and Reckitt Benckiser Group Plc among final contenders to clinch a deal as soon as this week, people familiar with the matter said.

Germany's Bayer and British consumer products giant Reckitt have emerged as front-runners to win the auction after each offering about $13.5 billion for the Merck consumer unit, best known for Coppertone sunscreen and Claritin allergy medicine, the sources said.

Both bidders are very keen to buy the asset, and the price tag could go higher in the final days, one person added. All the people asked not to be named because the matter is not public.

Representatives of American drugmaker Merck, as well as Bayer and Reckitt, declined to comment.

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