Germany’s Merck seals US$6.6b takeover of US group Versum

The logo of German chemicals and pharmaceutical group Merck KGaA at the company’s plant in Darmstadt, western Germany. — AFP pic
The logo of German chemicals and pharmaceutical group Merck KGaA at the company’s plant in Darmstadt, western Germany. — AFP pic

FRANKFURT AM MAIN, April 12 — German chemicals and pharmaceuticals giant Merck KgaA said Friday it had signed a €5.8-billion (RM27 billion) deal to buy Arizona-based Versum Materials, which supplies chemicals, gases and equipment for semiconductor manufacturing.

The Darmstadt-based group “has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Versum Materials, Inc for US$53 (RM218) per share in cash,” it said in a statement — higher than an initial offer of US$48 per share made by Merck in February.

With sales of around €1.2 billion in 2018 and 2,300 employees across Asia and North , Versum will be integrated into Merck’s “performance materials” division, which already produces inputs for circuits and liquid crystals for computer displays.

The tie-up should increase the revenue of the materials unit by half, from €2.4 billion last year, and is the group’s biggest since 2015, when it took over US materials supplier Sigma-Aldrich for US$17 billion.



Merck also hopes to achieve €75 million per year of savings three years after the merger is complete.

But the division will remain Merck’s smallest after the pharmaceuticals and “life science” laboratory supplies units, which each brought in over €6 billion in 2018.

Merck swooped in with a higher offer for Versum after the group had already agreed a merger with US-based Entegris.

Executives still have to glean approval from Versum shareholders and competition authorities, hoping to definitively tie the knot “in the second half of 2019”.

Investors in Frankfurt were sceptical of the move, with Merck shares shedding 2.5 per cent to trade at €96.76 around 3:30pm (1330 GMT), trailing the DAX index of blue-chip companies. — AFP

Source: The Malay Mail Online





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