Swiss pharmaceutical maker Roche is selling its over-the-counter medicine business, Roche Consumer Health, to Bayer in a deal worth 3.7 billion Swiss francs, or about $3 billion. As part of the sale, Roche also sold to Bayer its 50% stake in a Roche-Bayer joint venture in the U.S. Separately, Roche sold its rights to market an over-the-counter version of its anti-obesity drug, orlistate, to GlaxoSmithKline for about $100 million. The deals are part of Roche's strategy to divest its nonprescription medicine business and focus on its "research-driven, high-margin" businesses in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics, Roche officials said in a news release. The acquisition would make Bayer Consumer Health Care, with headquarters in Morristown, N.J., one of the top three nonprescription medicine businesses worldwide, according to the release. The deal, which requires regulatory approval, is expected to close by year-end. -- by Cinda Becker
Bayer to buy Roche's over-the-counter business
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