EU Tweaks Boehringer’s Purchase of Vet Drug Maker Merial

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By Eleanor Tyler

Nov. 9 — Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH moved closer to completing its proposed $25 billion asset swap with Sanofi after unloading vaccine and drug assets to rival Ceva Sante Animale SA.

The European Commission signed off on the deal Nov. 9, conditioned on the sale of a number of drugs and related production technology. The deal still requires approval from other antitrust regulators, including the Federal Trade Commission.

The EU commission’s investigation into Boehringer’s purchase of Sanofi’s animal health division, Merial, found potential competition problems in several vaccines and anti-inflammatory drugs. It accepted the companies’ offer to divest a number of Merial’s products, including vaccines Circovac, Progressis, Parvovax, Parvovurax and Mucossifa and pharmaceuticals Ketofen, Wellicox, Allevinix, Genixine, Equioxx Injectable and Equioxx Paste.

The proposed sale to Ceva will require a separate merger approval, but faces fewer hurdles. The commission’s statement on the proposed divestitures called Ceva “a suitable purchaser with strong capabilities and incentives to run the divested businesses successfully in the long term.”

Boehringer announced in June that it would purchase Sanofi’s animal health unit in exchange for its consumer health division. The EU cleared the other side of the swap, Sanofi’s acquisition of Boehringer’s consumer health business, in August.

“This is another important step towards the closing of the overall BI/Sanofi business swap,” Sanofi said in a statement. The parties still expect to close the transaction by year-end 2016, Sanofi said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Eleanor Tyler in Washington at etyler@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tiffany Friesen Milone at tmilone@bna.com

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