Sanofi has reportedly become the latest pharmaceutical company to launch a bid for Merck's consumer-health products division.
This is according to a report from Bloomberg, which suggests the unit - responsible for the Coppertone sun lotion and Claritin allergy brands - could be valued at $10 billion to $12 billion (6.06 billion to 7.27 billion pounds).
“Sanofi has reportedly placed a bid for Merck's sought after consumer-health products unit.“
Final bids are expected to be submitted next week, with Reckitt Benckiser also thought to be among the aggressive bidders.
A number of pharmaceutical companies have been attempting to spin off businesses they assess to be growing too slowly in an effort to focus on the development of new drugs.
Merck's over-the-counter division saw its sales drop by three percent to $1.9 billion last year, with almost one quarter of revenues coming from Claritin.
Sanofi's allergy medicine Allegra led its consumer products sales, which totalled $4.1 billion in 2013. Chief executive Chris Viehbacher took up the role in 2008 and drove the $20.1 billion acquisition of Genzyme in 2011.