Bayer to acquire Schiff; reports Q3 rise in earns

Associated Press

BERLIN (AP) — German drug and chemical maker Bayer AG said Tuesday it is buying U.S. vitamin and supplement maker Schiff Nutrition International Inc. for $1.2 billion (€930 million) in a cash deal it hopes will bolster the offerings of its consumer health division.

The announcement came as the Leverkusen-based company reported net income fell 17.8 percent to €528 million in the third quarter due to one-off items — including €205 million related to costs associated with litigation over the birth control pills marketed as Yasmin or Yaz, which are claimed to cause blood clots. Bayer said it also took a special charge of €134 million in restructuring expenses.

Group sales were up 11.4 percent to €9.665 billion, and board chairman Marijn Dekkers said the company had made good progress from a strategic perspective in the third quarter, strengthening its life sciences business through acquisitions and making progress on innovations.

"We remain on a successful path and we confirm our guidance for 2012," he said.

In acquiring Schiff, which is headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, and has offices in Emeryville, California, Bayer said it would be paying €34 per share — well above the $23.2 Schiff closed at on Friday, it's most recent day of trading.

The sale is expected to close by the end of the year, Bayer said.

Bayer said Schiff's portfolio includes brands in three of the largest health supplement segments — joint care, cardiovascular health and immune support. Products include Tiger's Milk nutrition bars, Omega 3 supplement MegaRed, and the probiotic supplement Digestive Advantage.

"This transaction represents an excellent strategic fit for our HealthCare business," Dekkers said. "The Schiff business significantly enhances our presence and position in the United States, which accounts for more over-the-counter and nutritional product sales than any other country in the world."

Bayer shares were up 0.6 percent in morning European trading to €66.88.

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