As we first reported in mid-February of 2013, from Dutch sources, Aspen (a South African pharma major) had been in talks with MSD to purchase the active pharmaceutical ingredient lines in the Netherlands.
This morning, US news outlets are confirming that the deal has been done. This also explains the persistent chatter (most recently, about two weeks ago) of additional job cuts at Oss, rumored to occur at the end of June.
Here is Reuters reporting on the US $1 billion deal — do go read it all:
. . . .Africa’s biggest maker of generic drugs said it would buy an active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) business located in the Netherlands and a portfolio of 11 drug brands from Merck. . . .
From Merck’s perspective, then: “a billion here; a billion there. . . and pretty soon you are talking about some real money. . .” That is, even at ten figures, it is only a drop in Merck’s gargantuan buckets. The deal must still clear South African antitrust review, but that ought not be much of an obstacle. It will likely close before the end of the year. My thoughts are with our friends across the pond, this morning.
While Merck has saved quite a few local Netherlands jobs, by doing this deal — this marks the end of all those proud, fine legacy local operations of multinational companies (think Organon, Intervet, and Merial, in local Dutch operations) — companies that Schering-Plough “rolled up,” and then systematically laid to waste.