Germany's Merck KGaA (MKGAF) has agreed to acquire AZ Electronic Materials (AZECF), a U.K.-listed provider of specialty chemicals used in the production of microchips and flat-panel devices, for £1.6B ($2.6B).
Merck is offering 403.5 pence ($6.61) a share, a premium of 53% to AZ's closing price yesterday.
The deal will enable Merck to grow beyond liquid crystals for flat-screen displays.
"Considering its recent past, any progress would be an improvement," FierceBiotech's Damian Garde writes, referring to comments made by Merck KGaA (MKGAF) CEO Karl-Ludwig Kley which seem to indicate that the German drugmaker is open to acquisitions across its four business units.
"We have four sustainable business divisions that are set to grow organically, but for all four areas we have ideas for steps that go beyond that," Kley tells the media.
Garde notes that "repeated clinical failures" have left analysts jaded, but innovative ideas like development program cost-sharing could brighten the Erbitux maker's outlook even in the midst of "an R&D diet."