German pharma Merck makes bid for US group Versum

German pharmaceutical group Merck KgaA said Wednesday it had offered to buy electronics industry supplier Versum Materials for 5.3 billion euros ($6 billion), its biggest purchase in four years.

In the all-cash offer, the Darmstadt-based group said it would pay shareholders $48 per share for the US company with a current market capitalisation of $4.6 billion.

Merck said merging the two businesses would create a portfolio of “electronic materials, equipment and services for the semiconductor and display industries”.

The takeover would be the biggest for Merck since its 2015 purchase of US materials supplier Sigma-Aldrich for $17 billion.

Merck will however have to beat off competition from a US rival Entegris, for Versum. Entegris had already offered to buy Versum in January, but Merck believes that its offer is superior.

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