is reporting today that Bayer AG has offered $19.5 billion to buy fellow German company Schering AG, and that the Schering board is welcoming the move.

This tops the unsolicited offer for Schering made by Merck KGaA 12 days ago, the article said.

According to MarketWatch, "all three companies are based in Germany. Schering AG and Merck KGaA are not affiliated with U.S. drugmakers Schering-Plough or Merck & Co., respectively, although they share the same founders."

The new proposed company, to be called as Bayer-Schering Pharmaceuticals, will be based at Schering's headquarters in Berlin, MarketWatch said. It quotes Bayer as saying the resulting company would move into the top 12 healthcare companies worldwide.