Sanofi-Aventis, Merck End Animal Health Venture After One Year

Sanofi-Aventis (NYSE:SNY) and Merck (NYSE:MRK) have decided to terminate their year-old animal health joint venture due to various regulatory hurdles that have proved too complex.

The two announced a new venture last year that combined Merial, Sanofi-Aventis’ animal health business, with Intervet/Schering-Plough, Merck’s animal unit. In accordance with the mutual termination, the two will continue to operate independently and neither will be responsible for a penalty.

Since announcing the deal last March, the companies submitted various requests for the antitrust and other regulatory reviews needed to get the combined company off the ground.

The companies, however, said in a statement on Tuesday that the requirements became increasing complex, both in terms of the “nature and extent of the anticipate divestiture and length of time necessary for the worldwide regulatory review process.”

The decision to end the deal, according to the companies, worked to the best interest of shareholders and respective employees.

Both Merial and Intervet/Schering-Plough, with annual sales last year of $2.6 billion and $2.9 billion, respectively, will remain firmly committed to animal health, the companies said.