Bayer outbids Merck for Schering
Bayer AG''s 16.3 billion euro ($19.6 billion) offer for drugmaker Schering AG was embraced by its target last week as German rival Merck abandoned its own takeover offer, the Associated Press reports. Bayer''s bid late late Thursday trumped Merck''s hostile 14.9 billion ($17.9 billion) offer for Schering made on March 13. Bayer CEO Werner Wenning said 6,000 jobs would likely be eliminated "in the upcoming years" after the acquisition, but did not provide exact details. He added that the company did not plan to divest any Schering units. Wenning said the acquisition plan will be filed with German financial watchdog BaFin, and Bayer expects to launch the cash takeover in mid-April. Schering had rebuffed Merck''s March 12 offer as too low. Analysts had contended that Schering would likely hold out for a higher bid, but speculation centered on Switzerland''s Novartis, not Bayer. Pending regulatory approval in Europe and the United States, the combination of Schering and Bayer''s pharmaceuticals unit will be named Bayer-Schering Pharmaceuticals and remain headquartered in Berlin.