Splitsville For Two Giants

DUPONT AND MERCK HAVE DECIDED to go their separate ways. On May 19, DuPont announced it would put up some $2.6 billion to buy out Merck's 50% interest in the companies' pharmaceutical joint venture. Merck Chief Financial Officer Judy Lewent says the sale is happening because Merck did not expect the venture to contribute significantly to growth. For DuPont, the move is just the latest in an effort to build up its pharmaceutical and agriculture biotechnology businesses. "This is the first in what are likely to be a series of acquisitions in life sciences," says Standard & Poor's analyst Thomas Kelly.

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