At a glance: Bayer poised to take over German rival Schering

Is this a done deal? It’s now very likely, yes. Germany's Merck KGaA is selling its 21.8 per cent stake in Schering to Bayer. This clears the way for Bayer to acquire Schering, forming a new company: Bayer-Schering Pharma.

Hasn’t there been some nastiness between Bayer and Merck?
More a case of corporate handbags at dawn. Bayer filed a suit against Merck in New York last week, claiming that Merck was attempting to spoil its takeover by coming back into the race for Schering. Merck had originally bid three months ago, but dropped out after Bayer made its move.

But Bayer is withdrawing the action?
Yes, so it’s a case of ‘friends again’. Bayer and Merck have even agreed to look into opportunities for co-operation. The party line is that the Bayer takeover strengthens Germany’s role as a pharmaceutical industry location – which is, of course, in everyone’s interests.

So who’s who in the comms teams?
At Bayer Healthcare’s HQ in Leverkusen, Markus Pickel is head of global corporate comms. Head of media relations is Helmut Schafers, while Christina Sehnert is head of corporate policy. At Schering, based in Berlin, Florian Böhle is head of pharma communication. Oliver Renner is head of business comms.

Does this have ramifications outside Germany?
Bayer is Germany’s biggest pharma group, and has 33,000 staff worldwide, including at Bayer UK in Newbury. Likewise, Schering has 150 subsidiaries – such as Schering Health Care in Burgess Hill – and 22,000 staff.

For what products are they known?
Bayer is responsible for Alka-Seltzer, and others, while Schering’s line includes multiple-sclerosis drug Betaferon.

Will Schering-Plough be affected?
No. It’s a common misconception that Schering-Plough is part of Schering. Although both were founded by Ernst Schering, they are separate.

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