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Last Updated: Friday, 19 November, 2004, 22:53 GMT
Bayer drug deal gets green light
Drug brand
The deal brings together many famous medicines
German pharmaceutical firm Bayer's 2.3bn euro (1.6bn) purchase of Roche's over-the-counter drugs unit has been cleared by the European Commission.

The deal will transform Bayer into the world's third-largest supplier of over-the-counter medicines behind Johnson & Johnson and GlaxoSmithKline.

The deal will bring together famous brands such as Alka-Seltzer and Rennie.

To satisfy competition issues, Bayer will have to sell off a number of drugs and trademarks in Austria and Ireland.

The combined business, whose headquarters will be in the United States, will employ 6,700 staff worldwide.

"The clearance is subject to a number of conditions intended to safeguard competition and hence the interests of European consumers," the Commission said in a statement.

The deal is expected to be completed before the end of the year.

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