Tuesday's Breakfast Briefing: Bayer deals for Merck's consumer care business

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Pharma deal-mania continues; Bayer to buy Merck’s consumer business
Bayer struck a deal with Merck early Tuesday morning to buy its consumer care business for $14.2 billion. New Jersey-based Merck’s consumer unit includes the decongestant Afrin and allergy treatment Claritin. It is the latest in a series of blockbuster moves in the pharma space, with Novartis and GlaxoSmithKline agreeing last month to deals that would fundamentally reshape both companies. Meanwhile, Pfizer continues to court AstraZeneca.

Facebook video ads not for everyone
Video advertisements on Facebook won’t come cheap, with the social network reportedly setting a $1 million a day pricetag for them. If that didn’t make them exclusive enough, Facebook is closely vetting companies that want to buy the spots, inviting only a handful of brands to submit concepts, according to The Wall Street Journal.

WPP buys South African digital shop
Holding company WPP said Tuesday morning that it plans to acquire Quirk, the largest independent digital agency in South Africa. The deal is subject to regulatory approval in the country. Quirk has about 200 employees and counts Tyco as a client. Its revenue for the year ending February 28 was $13.3 million.

White House asks business leaders to skip 'Russian Davos'
The Obama administration has lobbied American industrial, financial, and energy-sector businessmen to skip a summit planned for Russia later this month in response to the country’s actions in eastern Ukraine. So far, they’re listening. Executives from Alcoa, Goldman Sachs, and PepsiCo are among those planning to stay home from the St. Petersburg conference, seen as Russia’s answer to Davos.

Lewis PR deals for Purestone
UK-based digital agency Purestone has been bought by Lewis PR in a move that will expand the latter’s digital team to 25 staffers. Purestone’s clients include PayPal and the Royal Bank of Scotland.

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