Shares of Merck & Company (MRK) were trading up +0.37 or +0.63 percent to $59.00 per share in pre-market trading, after the company announced earlier this morning that it would sell its consumer care unit to German pharmaceutical giant, Bayer AG for $14.2 billion. Merck stock closed at $58.63 per share, up +0.41 or +0.70 percent in Mondayâ s regular trading session. Whitehouse Station, New Jersey based Merck & Co. is one of the worldâ s largest pharmaceutical companies. Founded as a subsidiary of German company, Merck KGaA in 1891, the company began operations as an independent company in 1917. The companyâ s best known products include, Propecia/Proscar, Gardasil, Singulair and Vioxx to name only a few. The sale of Merckâ s consumer care business will make Bayer AG a major player in over the counter products, giving the company control of some of Merckâ s better known brand names, such as Dr. Schollâ s and Coppertone. The deal includes all of Merckâ s OTC business and the global trademark and prescription rights for Afrin and Claritin. In addition to the sale of the consumer care business, the two companies also announced a global clinical development collaboration to market Bayerâ s portfolio of soluble guanylate cyclase modulators, including Bayerâ s Adempas (riociguat) for the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension. Costs and profits from the collaboration will be divided equally with both companies implementing a joint development and commercialization effort. The deal will have Merck pay Bayer $1 billion up front for the broad collaboration rights, followed by subsequent payments of as much as $1.1 billion for sales milestones. Kenneth C. Frazier, chairman and chief executive officer at Merck said in a statement that, â
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