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Chris Hughes

P&G Tries a Growth Supplement

Consumer health looks positively racy for growth-starved giants.
Procter & Gamble Co. Products Ahead Of Earnings Figures
Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

Everything's relative. To many big pharmaceuticals groups, their consumer healthcare businesses are dull assets that would best be sold and the proceeds used to fund more research into new drugs. To the world's big consumer groups, all grappling with anaemic growth, they look positively racy.

Hence Procter & Gamble Co. has done Merck KGaA a favor by making a punchy 3.4 billion-euro ($4.2 billion) bid for the German pharma group's consumer unit, the maker of Seven Seas vitamins.