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completed its spin-off Wednesday of the pharmacy-benefits management company

Medco Health Solutions

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The spin-off was originally announced last year, then postponed in July 2002, due to weak market conditions, and then resurrected in April, signaling the end of 10 years of Merck owning Medco.

Earlier this month, Merck declared a special dividend of all outstanding shares of Medco, distributing to Merck shareholders 0.1206 shares of Medco common for each Merck share. The aggregate dividend was $2 billion.

In late-morning trading, Merck's stock was up 20 cents at $51.04. Medco's shares were up 2%, or 48 cents, at $24.33.