The FTC has approved Merck & Co., Inc.’s application for prior approval to sell the company’s Barcelonata facility to Merial Barcelonata LLC, a subsidiary of Merial Inc. Before the sale, Merck manufactured the canine heartworm medications Heartgard and Heartgard Plus at that facility for Merial. Following the proposed sale, Merial will manufacture those products itself at the facility. According to Merck & Co.’s application, Merck & Co.’s has supplied Merial with Products using the Barceloneta manufacturing facility since 1989, and the transaction to sell the assets to Merial will provide certainty over the cost and production of its own product. Upon the information and representations made by Merck & Co. in its application, the FTC voted to approve the sale 5-0.
The sale required the prior approval of the FTC pursuant to an October 2009 order settling charges that Schering-Plough’s acquisition of Merck & Co. was anticompetitive. Pursuant to an “Agreement and Plan of Merger” proposed in March 2009, Schering-Plough sought to acquire Merck & Co. in a transaction valued at approximately $41.1 billion. However, the FTC found that acquisition of Merck & Co. by Schering-Plough would have violated the U.S. antitrust laws by impacting competition in the animal health markets.