Sanofi and Merck scrap animal deal

Regulatory pressure prompted Sanofi-Aventis and Merck & Co to abandon plans for a joint animal health powerhouse with $5bn (£3.05bn) in sales.

The move sets back the French and US drugmakers’ plans to achieve economies of scale in the consolidating animal care industry, and comes a month after they delayed the long-running deal’s closure by another six months.

It is also a blow to companies that had hoped to snap up assets with about $500m in annual revenue that the pair would have had to sell to clear regulatory hurdles.

Merck and Sanofi said a year ago they planned to combine their veterinary drugs and vaccines businesses to create a joint venture with almost a third of the global market.