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Siemens to Merck Join German Rush to Make U.S. Deals

German companies are embarking on their biggest-ever acquisition spree in the U.S., chasing deals that promise innovation, growth and an escape route from crisis-ridden Europe.

Merck KGaA yesterday agreed to acquire medical equipment manufacturer Sigma-Aldrich Corp. for more than $16 billion, in what would be the biggest acquisition in its 346-year history. Hours earlier, Siemens AG said it would buy Dresser-Rand Group Inc., a provider of energy equipment based in Houston, for $7.5 billion. In two deals last week, SAP AG agreed to buy Concur Technologies Inc. for $7.4 billion, and ZF Friedrichshafen AG bid $11.7 billion for TRW Automotive Holdings Corp.