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Merck & Co. to acquire animal tracking company Antelliq for €2.1B

Merck & Co. Inc. agreed to acquire all outstanding shares of privately held animal identification company Antelliq for a cash payment of about €2.1 billion.

The Kenilworth, N.J.-based drugmaker is acquiring Antelliq from funds advised by BC Partners, a London-based private equity firm. Antelliq will be a separately operated unit within Merck's animal health division following the deal.

Merck will also assume Antelliq's debt of €1.15 billion, which it plans to repay shortly after deal closing.

Antelliq develops digital products for monitoring and tracking the health and well-being of livestock and pets. The France-based company had sales of €360 million in the year ending Sept. 30.

The acquisition complements Merck's animal health portfolio of pharmaceuticals, vaccines and services, Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier said in a news release.

The deal is expected to close in the second quarter of 2019 and is subject to certain conditions, including clearance from antitrust and competition authorities.

Merck was represented by Barclays and Centerview Partners in the acquisition, while Antelliq was represented by Goldman Sachs International and Rothschild & Co.

During Merck's first-quarter earnings call in May, Frazier said the drugmaker is sticking to its animal health division, rejecting suggestions that a spinoff was part of its strategy. The CEO added that the business provides a counterweight to a perceived overreliance on its lead cancer product, Keytruda.