Leading European drug companies plan multibillion asset swap

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BERLIN (AP) — German pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim and France's Sanofi say they are in talks on an asset swap that would boost Sanofi's position as a manufacturer of non-prescription medicines.

The two companies said Tuesday that they are in exclusive negotiations on a deal that would see Boehringer Ingelheim take over Sanofi's animal health unit Merial, which is valued at 11.4 billion euros ($12.5 billion).

And Sanofi would acquire a large chunk of the consumer health care business from Boehringer Ingelheim. That's worth 6.7 billion euros. The proposed deal excludes Boehringer Ingelheim's Chinese consumer health care business.

Boehringer Ingelheim would also pay Sanofi 4.7 billion euros in cash.

The companies say they expect to reach a deal "in the coming months" and aim to close the transaction in next year's fourth quarter.

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