British drug companies Glaxo Wellcome and SmithKline Beecham have agreed to a merger valued at more than $70 billion that will create the world's largest pharmaceutical company. Together, the two spend more than $420 million on measured media, supporting such Rx lines as migraine treatment Imitrex, anti-smoking therapy Zyban, anti-depressants Paxil and Wellbutrin and diabetes drug Avandia. SmithKline also has a fleet of over-the-counter brands including Tums, Aquafresh and Nicorette, which competes with Glaxo's Zyban. The two companies, with combined '98 sales of $26 billion, had flirted with a merger two years ago, but that came to a halt after management conflicts. Glaxo and SmithKline have one shared agency on their roster, Jordan McGrath Case & Partners/Euro RSCG, New York. Glaxo's shops include Grey Advertising and Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising, both New York; SmithKline's shops include McCann-Erickson, New York and Commonhealth USA, Parsippany, N.J.
Copyright January 2000, Crain Communications Inc.