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US-based Merck has signed an agreement to acquire Sigma-Aldrich for $17bn (€13.1bn), which will boost the company’s position in the life science industry.

Under the deal, Merck will acquire all outstanding shares of Sigma-Aldrich for $140 per share in cash.

Merck executive board chairman Karl-Ludwig Kley said: "This transaction marks a milestone on our transformation journey aimed at turning our three businesses into sustainable growth platforms.

"For our life science business it’s even more than that: it’s a quantum leap. In one of the world’s key industries two companies that fit perfectly together have found each other to present a much broader product offering to our global customers in research, pharma and biopharma manufacturing and diagnostic and testing labs."

The integrated entity will benefit from an efficient supply chain that can support the delivery of more than 300,000 products, while offering a set of established brands to life science customers worldwide.

"The integrated entity will benefit from an efficient supply chain that can support the delivery of more than 300,000 products."

Merck Millipore, along with Sigma-Aldrich, will provide different products across laboratory chemicals, biologics and reagents in the laboratory and academia business, while Sigma-Aldrich’s additions will compliment Merck Millipore in pharma and biopharma production.

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Sigma-Aldrich president and CEO Rakesh Sachdev said: "We are excited to join forces with Merck, a distinguished industry leader.

"The combined company will be well-positioned to deliver significant customer benefits, including a broader, complementary range of products and capabilities, greater investment in breakthrough innovations, enhanced customer service, and a leading e-commerce and distribution platform in the industry."

The deal is expected to be complete in mid-2015, subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.

Guggenheim Securities and JPMorgan are serving as financial advisers to Merck, while Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom is the legal adviser. Morgan Stanley is acting as financial adviser to Sigma-Aldrich, while Sidley Austin is the legal advisor.

Image: Sigma-Aldrich president and CEO Rakesh Sachdev with Merck executive board chairman Karl-Ludwig Kley. Photo: courtesy of Merck KGaA.