Too early to say how Millipore deal will affect South Jersey

Some more detail on how Merck KGaA's pending acquisition of Millipore Inc. will affect South Jersey.

Phyllis Carter, a spokeswoman for the Darmstadt, Germany-based Merck, said that while they are planning to combine the headquarters of its chemicals business with Millipore in Billerica, Mass., it is too early to say what will happen to the Gibbstown operations.

That's really not unusual at this stage. The deal was struck Sunday night and announced Monday morning. But the transaction needs to receive shareholder approval as well as undergo antitrust reviews in the United States and Europe.

The acquisition won't close until the second half of 2010, Carter said.

In the meantime, the two sides will make plans for the integration of Merck's fine chemistry business with Millipore's. But outside of knowing that the headquarters of the business will be in Massachusetts, we don't know how many jobs may move from the Gibbstown complex of Merck's EMD Chemicals Inc.

Carter also reiterated something that Merck management stressed on the webcast that addresses the $6 billion acquisition: Merck views this not as a deal done to cut costs, but to grow its U.S. fine chemicals business, which supplies pharmaceutical companies, universities and other laboratories. Merck bills itself as the world's leading maker of liquid crystals.

Other than a historical connection, there is no link now between Germany's Merck and the U.S. pharmaceutical company Merck & Co. Inc., based in Whitehouse Station, N.J.