FTC Wants More Info On Merck-Schering Deal

NEW YORK (AP) -- Drugmakers Merck and Co. and Schering-Plough Corp., which are in the process of a $41.1 billion tie-up, said Monday the Federal Trade Commission has asked for more information about the deal.

Merck, of Whitehouse Station, N.J., and Schering-Plough, Kenilworth, N.J., said they expected the request, which was made under federal antitrust law. The companies intend to cooperate with the request.

Merck agreed to buy Schering-Plough in March, and the companies still expect the deal to close in the fourth quarter. The transaction also requires approval by Merck and Schering-Plough shareholders.

The combined company would be the world's second-largest drugmaker by revenue, with products including the asthma drug Singulair, Nasonex for allergies, and the cholesterol drugs Zetia and Vytorin.

Merck also said Monday it plans to issue about $3.5 billion in debt to fund the Schering-Plough acquisition. Some of the proceeds may also be used for Vioxx lawsuit settlement funds.

In morning trading, Merck shares lost 52 cents, or 2 percent, to $25.39, and Schering-Plough slid 25 cents to $23.55.

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