The Wallenberg Empire: It May Never Be The Same

A blizzard of deals shakes up the Swedish companies

For years, Hakan Mogren, chief executive of Swedish drugmaker Astra, dismissed the notion that his $5.6 billion company was too small to go it alone in the cutthroat pharmaceutical business. But lately Mogren seems to have changed his mind. After hinting that Astra might be in the merger mood, he is close to taking the first step toward making one possible: buying out Astra's U.S. marketing joint venture with Merck & Co. for as much as $10 billion over several years. The venture is viewed as a poison pill because it gives Merck control of key Astra products in the U.S. and a 50% share of their sales, which totaled $2.2 billion last year.

To continue reading this article you must be a Bloomberg Professional Service Subscriber.