The Leverkusen, Germany-based company said it would pay $14.2 billion to add Claritin allergy medications and Dr. Scholls footcare products to its arsenal of non-prescription treatments.
"With this transaction, we are acquiring leading product brands that will make Bayer the over-the-counter leader in North America and Latin America and also move us into top global positions in key over-the-counter product categories," said Bayer HealthCare CEO Olivier Brandicourt in a statement.
Global drug companies are feverishly opening their wallets to expand in what they see as their key businesses. The deal will make Bayer the world's No. 2 non-prescription drugs company behind London's GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), which is currently folding its OTC activities into those of Basel-based Novartis (NVS).
The deal between Glaxo and Novartis also has Novartis buying Glaxo's oncology business in exchange for Novartis' vaccines. Novartis is also selling its animal health unit to Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Co. Meanwhile, New York's Pfizer (PFE) is trying to spend 63.1 billion pounds ($107 billion) to buy London-based AstraZeneca (AZN) and become an oncology heavyweight.
Bayer late last month became the perceived winner in the auction for the Merck business after the U.K.'s Reckitt Benckiser said it was no longer in talks with Merck.