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WHITEHOUSE STATION, NJ-Still reeling from the late January announcement that Pfizer Inc. and Wyeth intend to merge, two more Garden State pharmaceutical giants–Merck & Co. and Schering Plough Corp.–yesterday revealed their plans to combine in a $41.1-billion deal.

Under the stock and cash transaction, Schering-Plough shareholders will receive $10.50 in cash and 0.5767 in Merck stock for each share of Schering-Plough. Merck’s total bid amounts to $23.61 a share, which represents a 34% premium over the closing price of Schering-Plough on March 6. The combined company will be known as Merck, with that company’s chairman, president, CEO Richard T. Clark leading the merged entity, which will make its headquarters here.

In a statement announcing the deal, the companies said they expect to achieve a cost savings of $3.5 billion annually after 2011. In an interview with Dow Jones Newswires, Clark said that the company expects to reduce about 15% of its combined workforce and have already instituted hiring freezes.

John Cunningham, executive managing director at FirstService Williams, tells GlobeSt.com that the impact of the merger will not immediately be felt in the marketplace. Much depends on where there are overlaps in jobs and facilities. “Are there redundancies in New Jersey?” he wonders. “We’d very much like to know.” He points out that Schering-Plough’s main campus is in Kenilworth and that both Merck and Schering Plough own and/or occupy in excess of one to one and a half million square feet in New Jersey.

The Merck/Schering merger announcement follows the January revelation that Pfizer would buy Madison, NJ-based Wyeth. When that merger was made public, Pfizer said it will reduce its global workforce by approximately 10%, or approximately 8,000 jobs. It also revealed its intention to reduce the number of manufacturing sites from the current 46 to 41, as well as reduce its facilities square footage by approximately 15%.

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