Merck buys Antelliq for $2.4B to boost animal health unit

Merck and Co said on Friday it will pay about 2.1 billion euros ($2.37 billion) in cash for privately held French company Antelliq Group, which makes digital identification products, to open up its animal health unit to the fastest growing segment of the market.

Merck said Antelliq will be a wholly owned and separately operated subsidiary within its animal health division.

Antelliq's products, which brought in 360 million euros ($406.26 million) in sales in the year ended Sept. 30, provide veterinarians, farmers and pet owners with digital technology that monitors animals and helps predict disease in them.

These products allow access to real-time, actionable information to help improve livestock management and health outcomes, Merck said in a statement.

Merck will assume Antelliq's debt of 1.15 billion euros ($1.30 billion), which it intends to repay shortly after the closing of the deal, expected in the second quarter of 2019.

Private equity firm BC Partners currently owns a majority stake in Antelliq.

(Reporting by Tamara Mathias in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)