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P&G India gets competition regulator's approval for Merck acquisition

The Procter & Gamble Co. received the approval of the Competition Commission of India to proceed with its proposed purchase of a 51.80% stake in drug company Merck Ltd.

The competition regulator on Aug. 7 announced the decision on Twitter. The deal is valued at about 12.90 billion Indian rupees, according to a report by the Press Trust of India.

The acquisition, which will be done through Procter & Gamble Overseas India BV, is part of P&G's takeover of Merck KGaA's global consumer health business. Merck in April agreed to sell the division to P&G for about €3.4 billion in cash. At around the same time, P&G's Indian arm proposed to acquire a 51.80% take in Merck Ltd.

The transaction also replaces P&G's PGT Healthcare joint venture with Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd, which ended July 1.

The German pharmaceutical company started reviewing options for its consumer health business in September 2017 due to increasing internal constraints to fund the unit.

The global deal is expected to close during the 2018-2019 fiscal year of P&G, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory clearances.

J.P. Morgan acted as financial adviser to Merck on the transaction, and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer was the company's legal adviser.

As of Aug. 7, US$1 was equivalent to 68.65 Indian rupees.