FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Merck (MRCG.DE) has cleared a major anti-trust hurdle to its planned $17 billion acquisition of Sigma-Aldrich SIAL.O with the latter's agreed sale of assets to Honeywell (HON.N), the German drugmaker said on Tuesday.
Merck said U.S. life science company Sigma-Aldrich would sell parts of its solvents and inorganics business in Europe to industrial group Honeywell, which said separately it would pay about 105 million euros ($119 million) for the assets.
"This is another key step towards completing the acquisition of Sigma-Aldrich," Merck executive board member Bernd Reckmann said in a statement on Tuesday.
Merck said it still expected to close the acquisition of Sigma-Aldrich, its biggest takeover, by the end of November.
The European Commission has to approve the asset sale to Honeywell in order for Merck to close the bigger transaction.
Merck aims to boost its lab-supplies business with the all-cash deal which was agreed more than a year ago.
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Reporting by Georgina Prodhan; editing by Jason Neely