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Merck acquisition would test emboldened regulators

For attendees of the two-day Regulators’ Workshop on Strengthening Antitrust Enforcement in the Pharmaceutical Industry, the message could not have been clearer: the days when mega-mergers could proceed without too much control is over.

Then, almost as if to present a test case for antitrust officials, the Wall Street Journal reported two days later that the New Jersey-based company Merck & Co. considered buying Seattle area-biotech seagen which is now worth just over $30 billion. The report notes that there may be other suitors and that reaching a deal “could be tricky given the heightened risk of regulatory challenge.”