Reckitt Benckiser ceases its efforts to buy Merck's (MRK -0.3%) OTC business saying that the bidding has gotten out of hand. Yesterday, Bayer (BAYRY +1.2%) reportedly offered to trade its animal health business to Merck plus cash. This would appear to give it the upper hand versus Reckitt considering comments from Merck CEO Ken Frazier that each of his firm's businesses needs to be a top player or get out. Its animal health business is a laggard but adding Bayer's would vault it into the top tier.
Observers believe the Merck unit will fetch ~$14B.