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P&G India gets further approval for Merck acquisition

India's pharmaceuticals department has approved Procter & Gamble Co.'s proposal to acquire up to 77.80% of Merck Ltd., the Mumbai-based drug company confirmed in an Oct. 10 filing to the National Stock Exchange of India and the Bombay Stock Exchange.

Procter & Gamble Overseas India BV, the Indian arm of the Ohio-based consumer goods giant, proposed in May to acquire 77.80% of Merck's shares, consisting of 51.80% of the company's paid-up equity share capital and up to 26% of public shareholders' paid-up equity share capital.

The Department of Pharmaceuticals' approval comes about two months after India's competition commission approved P&G's proposal to acquire a 51.80% holding in Merck. According to a report by the Press Trust of India, the transaction was valued at 12.90 billion Indian rupees.

Meanwhile, P&G offered to purchase up to 4,315,840 of Merck's shares, or an additional 26% stake in the company, for 10 Indian rupees apiece, according to a stock exchange filing.

The transaction also includes the transfer of P&G's non-consumer health business to Merck Life Sciences Private Ltd. or any of its affiliates.

The share purchase agreement is part of P&G's acquisition of Merck KGaA's global consumer health business announced in April.

As of Oct. 9, US$1 was equivalent to 74.08 Indian rupees.