16 May 1997

Merck taken over

NOVARTIS has acquired US crop protection firm Merck for £558m.

The deal includes worldwide rights to Mercks business, which had 1996 sales of £123m. In addition to complementing weed and disease control, the acquisition will strengthen Novartiss position in the insecticide market. It will also bring development compounds, including a high-potential insecticide close to market introduction.

Last year agribusiness generated £3.19bn sales for the group. &#42