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P&G buys consumer health unit of Merck KGaA

A shelf filled with Crest toothpaste.
Protor & Gamble owns consumer health brands like Crest toothpaste. Photo: Roberto Machado Noa / LightRocket via Getty Images

Procter & Gamble is acquiring the consumer health products division of German conglomerate Merck KGaA for $4.2 billion, its first major deal since activist investor Nelson Peltz won a seat on the company's board of directors. This adds to P&G's lineup of health products like Crest, Pepto-Bismol and Vicks.

Why it matters: P&G's buyout of Merck KGaA's consumer health business comes right after Novartis sold its own to GlaxoSmithKline. Meanwhile, Pfizer is still looking to unload its bigger over-the-counter division to a market that now excludes two large purchasers.