Update: The deal is done! A last-minute pile of money made all the difference, as it so often does.
The Bayer-Schering AG-Merck KGaA brawl I wrote about the other day has increased in complexity and craziness. According to the Financial Times, the latest figures appear to show Bayer with a slightly smaller stake in Schering than it had before, which (the paper speculates) could mean that some shareholders have withdrawn their share-tender offer to Bayer and sold them to Merck instead.
Meanwhile, according to Reuters, there's going to be a Bayer ad in the Boersen Zeitung tomorrow that quotes an even lower figure than the FT has, with a breakdown that seems to show that previously tendered shares have indeed been withdrawn. The Reuters figures on Merck's ownership, though, make it seem as if these shares haven't necessarily been sold to Merck, but are just being held for a better offer. I didn't realize that you could do that, but I think everyone in this fight is learning things that they didn't know before.
Meanwhile, Bloomberg is saying that Bayer has filed suit in the US, claiming that Merck has violated securities law. That story also says that Deutsche Bank, who advised Merck in their original bid for Schering, is still with them in this fight. Perhaps they know what's going on, because no one else seems to.
I include the BBC in that list, because while they also have thelawsuit story, as of Tuesday night EST they seem to be under the impression that the US Merck is involved, rather than Merck-Darmstadt. Things are confusing enough already, thanks.
The deadline for the deal is midnight Wednesday, although I can't seem to find out whether that's Central European time, EST, or what. And it looks like that's going to be an important detail. Keep an eye on your favorite financial news sources to see who wins the German Pharmaceutical World Cup Final!