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Germany's Merck makes $5.9 bln cash counterbid for Versum


FRANKFURT, Feb 27 () - Drugs and lab supplies maker Merck KGaA is offering to buy Versum Materials in a cash deal valuing it at $5.9 billion including debt, pitting the German group against Entegris which last month also bid for the electronic materials maker.

Merck on Wednesday said it proposes to acquire Versum for $48 per share, a premium of 16 percent to Tuesdays's closing price and of 52 percent to the share price before Entegris' offer.

Merck added that it was prepared to proceed immediately to due diligence and to quickly agree to a merger agreement, adding that it did not need its own shareholders to approve a such deal.

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