WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J. & KENILWORTH, N.J. -- Merck & Co. Inc. and Schering-Plough Corporation today announced that their Boards of Directors have unanimously approved a definitive merger agreement under which Merck and Schering-Plough will combine, under the name Merck, in a stock and cash transaction.

Under the terms of the agreement, Schering-Plough shareholders will receive 0.5767 shares and $10.50 in cash for each share of Schering-Plough. Each Merck share will automatically become a share of the combined company. Merck Chairman, President and CEO Richard T. Clark will lead the combined company.

Based on the closing price of Merck stock on March 6, 2009, the consideration to be received by Schering-Plough shareholders is valued at $23.61 per share, or $41.1 billion in the aggregate. This price represents a premium to Schering-Plough shareholders of approximately 34 percent based on the closing price of Schering-Plough stock on March 6, 2009. The consideration also represents a premium of approximately 44 percent based on the average closing price of the two stocks over the last 30 trading days.

Upon closing of the transaction, Merck shareholders are expected to own approximately 68 percent of the combined company, and Schering-Plough shareholders are expected to own approximately 32 percent. Merck anticipates that the transaction will be modestly accretive to non-GAAP EPS(1) in the first full year following completion and significantly accretive thereafter.

Schering-Plough brings to the combined company a leading animal health business with strength in vaccines and small molecules.

Following the close of the transaction, the Board of Directors of the combined company will be comprised of the Merck Board and three representatives from Schering-Plough's Board. Richard T. Clark will serve as chairman, president and chief executive officer of the combined company. Fred Hassan, chairman and chief executive officer of Schering-Plough, is committed to continuing the strong operations at Schering-Plough and intends to participate in the integration planning until the close.

Merck's integration team will be led by Adam Schechter, president of Global Pharmaceuticals, who will report to Mr. Clark. Schering-Plough's integration team will be led by Brent Saunders, senior vice president and president, Consumer Health Care, who will report to Hassan. A key priority is keeping the best talent from both companies. Recognizing that the combination will result in a much larger organization, Merck expects that the substantial majority of Schering-Plough employees will remain with the combined company. In addition, both Merck and Schering-Plough will institute hiring freezes immediately.

The combined company will have its corporate headquarters in Whitehouse Station, NJ.

The transaction will be structured as a "reverse merger" in which Schering-Plough, renamed Merck, will continue as the surviving public corporation. The exchange ratio was calculated based on an agreed price of $26.25, with $10.50 in cash and $15.75 in Merck stock, based on a trailing thirty day volume weighted average price of $27.3109.

Effective upon the merger, each Merck share will automatically become a share of the combined company. The receipt of shares by Schering-Plough shareholders and the conversion of Merck shares into combined company shares under the transaction is intended to be tax-free for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Schering-Plough shareholders will be subject to tax on the cash received up to the amount of gain realized on the shares exchanged.

Merck & Co., Inc. is a global research-driven pharmaceutical company dedicated to putting patients first. Established in 1891, Merck currently discovers, develops, manufactures and markets vaccines and medicines to address unmet medical needs. The company devotes extensive efforts to increase access to medicines through far-reaching programs that not only donate Merck medicines but help deliver them to the people who need them. Merck also publishes unbiased health information as a not-for-profit service.

Schering-Plough is an innovation-driven, science-centered global health care company. Through its own biopharmaceutical research and collaborations with partners, Schering-Plough creates therapies that help save and improve lives around the world. The company applies its research-and-development platform to human prescription, animal health and consumer health care products. The company is based in Kenilworth, N.J.

SOURCE: Merck & Co., Inc. and Schering-Plough Corp. via Business Wire.