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Merck, Now No. 2 Drugmaker, Set For Future Buys

Wed, 11/04/2009 - 3:54am
WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J. (AP) — The new Merck & Co. becomes the world's second-biggest drugmaker overnight, and it's boasting a fat wallet to fund future deals. That's after the maker of vaccines and cholesterol and diabetes drugs bought Schering-Plough Corp. yesterday for $41.1 billion. Merck leapfrogged from No. 8 to No. 2 in the industry by revenue. The company has about $8 billion in cash and investments and plans to keep investing in deals for rights to new drugs. Merck says combining the companies — and slimming down the resulting staff of 106,000 employees — will save about $3.5 billion a year after 2011. But it expects the acquisition to boost profits slightly by next year and is forecasting profit growth in the high single digits for the next several years.

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