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September 9, 2010
Merck vs. J&J: It's Come to This, Eh?
I've been waiting for over a year now to find out what's going to happen between Merck and J&J. The Schering-Plough acquisition was ludicrously structured as an acquisition of Merck in order to try to finess the rights to Remicade (infliximab) and its follow-up golimumab. These lucrative TNF-alpha antibodies were part of a deal with Schering-Plough, but under a provision that if the company experienced a "change in control" that the rights would revert back to J&J.
Thus the eye-rolling it's-SP-buying-Merck stuff. (Never mind that Fred Hassan was able to exercise parts of his own contract that related to a change in control of Schering-Plough). Well, as Jim Edwards writes, the issue is now going to arbitration. Merck has filed a disclosure on this with the SEC, apparently in response to repeated questions from investors.
Most everyone has expected the two companies to come to terms somehow, but that doesn't seem to be happening. According to that filing from Merck, the arbitration process started in late May of last year, so both companies have known that this was coming for quite some time. The fact that J&J hasn't blinked makes one think that they expect to prevail, and thus have no interest in agreeing to any deal that's more favorable to Merck.
Well, the language says "late September", and the whole process should go on for a couple of weeks at most. Some very expensive lawyers are donning their ceremonial armor as we speak. Let the games begin!
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