Justia Drugs & Biotech Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Delaware Court of Chancery
In 2014, Merck and Bayer entered a Stock and Asset Purchase Agreement (SAPA) whereby Merck sold, and Bayer purchased, Merck’s consumer care business and consumer care product lines, including the Claritin, Coppertone, Dr. Scholl’s, and Lotrimin foot powder product lines. The transaction closed in October 2014. Bayer paid Merck more than $14 billion. After the transaction closed, both companies were the subject of lawsuits alleging injuries arising from consumers’ use of talc-based products that Merck used in foot powder product lines sold to Bayer; asbestos allegedly contained in talcum powder has caused fatal cancers.The Delaware Court of Chancery dismissed Merck’s suit in which it argued that Bayer breached the SAPA by refusing to assume liability for the claims. Both companies, as sophisticated participants in the pharmaceutical industry, understood that consumer products businesses face potential liability for torts associated with the sale of such consumer products. The SAPA clearly and unambiguously provides that Merck indefinitely retained substantive liability for the product liability claims related to products sold before the transaction closed. Merck attempted to argue that its liability for the product liability claims ceased in 2021; the court found that interpretation contrary to the SAPA's clear and unambiguous terms. Bayer’s interpretation of the SAPA is the only reasonable one. View "Merck & Co., Inc. v. Bayer AG" on Justia Law