Elanco gets EU’s conditional antitrust OK for Bayer deal

Approval calls for sale of Vecoxan brand, among others

Bayer’s cross symbol hangs in a terminal at Frankfurt International Airport. (Typhoonski/iStock Editorial/Getty Images)

Reuters/Staff — Elanco Animal Health secured antitrust clearance on Monday from the European Union to buy Bayer’s veterinary drugs unit, after pledging to sell some products to address competition concerns about the US$7.6 billion deal.

The European Commission said the companies will sell either Elanco or Bayer’s products or those in the pipeline, including licenses, contracts and brands, for certain specific products.

Elanco said Monday it had already proposed selling certain brands to clear the regulatory path for the deal. EU approval is conditional on several of those sales, including worldwide rights to Vecoxan, a coccidiosis treatment for calves and lambs, and to Osurnia, an otitis treatment for dogs.

The EU’s approval also calls for Elanco to carry out its proposed sale of EU and U.K. rights to certain Bayer-owned dog and cat de-wormer products.

“With the divestment of current and pipeline products treating ear infections and parasites in pets and livestock, the merger can go ahead whilst preserving competition and innovation in these markets,” European competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager said.

The deal would create the world’s second largest animal health company, with analysts expecting the US$44 billion animal health sector to grow five to six per cent per year, driven by an increase in livestock farming and spending on pets.

Elanco said Monday it “continues to progress toward a mid-year closing” for the deal, around Aug. 3.

Apart from the European Commission’s approval, Elanco said it has already picked up antitrust clearances from China, Colombia, South Africa, Turkey, Ukraine, Vietnam and, conditionally, Brazil, and “continues to co-operate with agencies in other jurisdictions.”

— Reporting for Reuters by Foo Yun Chee; includes files from Glacier FarmMedia Network staff.

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