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Hoechst, Rhone Poulenc Near Deal

November 30, 1998

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) _ The pharmaceutical and chemical concern Hoechst AG is close to an agreement to merge some operations with the French pharmaceutical company Rhone-Poulenc SA.

Hoechst confirmed last week that the two companies were in talks that would create one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical firms.

The two companies have scheduled a press conference Tuesday in Strasbourg, France, to discuss details of the agreement, a Hoechst spokesman said.

The Wall Street Journal reported in Monday’s editions that the companies would combine their pharmaceutical and agrochemical businesses in an equally-owned concern. It cited unidentified people close to the transaction.

The Journal said no money will change hands in the transaction. The parent concerns will retain their remaining industrial chemical operations along with their respective 50 percent stakes in the new venture, the report said.

Final details were still being ironed out Sunday, the report said. But it quoted one person involved in the matter as saying ``It’s a done deal.″

The Journal said the deal would combine assets valued at about $36 billion _ including their drug businesses, Hoechst Marrion Roussel AG and Rhone-Poulenc Rorer Inc., as well as their animal and plant health activities.

It said Hoechst’s Juergen Dormann is expected to be chairman of the new company’s management board, while Rhone-Poulenc’s Jean-Rene Fourtou would be vice chairman.

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