Hoechst AG sealed plans to buy U.S. drugmaker Marion Merrell Dow for $7.1 billion, or $25.75 per share.
The new company will be the third-largest firm in an industry that's been radically reshaped by mergers this year and last year. Combined, Hoechst and Marion Merrell Dow sold $10.6 billion in drugs worldwide last year. Only Glaxo Wellcome PLC of Britain and U.S.-based Merck & Co. are larger.
Hoechst, a German firm that makes drugs and chemicals, earned $840 million before taxes on sales of $31.5 billion in 1993. Kansas City, Mo.-based Marion Merrell Dow earned $493 million on sales of $2.8 billion.
The companies disclosed their negotiations earlier this spring (March 6, p. 17). They expect to complete the transaction by late summer. Marion Merrell Dow's minority shareholders must approve the terms. The company's majority owner, Dow Chemical Co., has agreed to sell its 71% stake in the firm.
Industry analysts said the acquisition will strengthen Hoechst's U.S. position and bring it new expertise in marketing to managed-care plans.