Merck unlikely to undertake large-scale consumer health buys

November 19, 2013 12:51 pm

Merck unlikely to undertake large-scale consumer health buys

By Andrew Jack

Merck of Germany is unlikely to undertake a large-scale acquisition in consumer health in the coming months, while being open to deals in “single-digit billions” across its other three divisions. In remarks following the group’s third-quarter results last week, Matthias Zachert, chief financial officer, appeared to rule out his company as a potential purchaser ifNovartis  put its consumer health division up for sale in the coming months. He said that after significant restructuring leading to rising margins and a reduction in debt, Merck was “now open again to acquisitions” over the next two years, while stressing that they would be “targeted and focused” and “not in the double-digit billions”. He said deals were possible in its pharmaceuticals, performance materials and life science tools divisions, but that Novartis’s consumer health division was much larger than that of Merck, and multiples in the niche meant “it is not the right time for deals of global transformational scale”. Smaller acquisitions of individual products globally or in some countries were more likely, he said.

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Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (, the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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