CORPORATIONS: Merck's Merger

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Two of the nation's biggest drug manufacturers last week agreed to become the biggest. Directors of Merck & Co., which grossed $105.7 million and netted $8.4 million last year, and Sharp & Dohme, which netted $3.9 million on a $50.4 million gross, okayed a plan to merge. If stockholders approve, the combined company will pass Parke, Davis & Co. as the biggest U.S. maker of ethical drugs.*

The firm would take the Merck name, but Sharp & Dohme would continue to operate as a separate unit. Sharpe & Dohme shareholders seemed to be getting the best of it. They would get 2¼ shares of Merck common, worth 49½ at week's end, for every share of Sharp & Dohme, listed at 47¾.

*A term used to describe drugs which usually require a doctor's prescription, as distinguished from proprietary drugs, such as cough remedies patent medicines, toothpaste, etc., which are sold over the counter.