Jeanne Whalen, over at The Wall Street Journal is reporting this Sunday morning that Abbott was deep in the running, to acquire Animal Health businesses from Merck, thus:
. . . .Abbott of late has been in a more acquisitive mode, making a strong run this summer at purchasing a veterinary medicine business from Merck & Co. French drug maker Sanofi-Aventis SA eventually bought the asset for $4 billion. . . .
I'd look for Abbott to resurface, then, when the Intervet assets (at least those that would pose a competitive overlap problem for New Merck, vis-a-vis the Sanofi-Aventis "New" Merial businesses) are toted up for sale. That will have to happen pretty quickly, once the reverse merger closes, as Sanofi/Merial will likely exercise its call option to acquire all of Intervet away from "New" Merck -- then divest one or more of the competing lines, either from Merial, or from Intervet.
Keep an eye on that Miles White. He's crafty.