The German chemical and pharmaceutical company, Merck KGaG, based in Darmstadt, has surprised investors and analysts once again. While many investors and experts had expected the company to acquire pharmaceutical businesses, the group is expanding its chemicals division. It has announced plans to acquire the American laboratory supplier Sigma-Aldrich for $17 billion (€13.1 billion).
The purchase, which will be its largest purchase in its near 350-year history should strengthen Merck in the business of laboratory chemicals and intermediate products for biotech production.
The German company is separate from U.S. based drug maker Merck & Co., a global drugs maker. The two divisions split after World War Two, when the United States seized German corporate assets in the States as war reparations. German Merck’s U.S. subsidiary became Merck & Co. and Merk KGaG remained in Germany as its own entity.