Bayer bids for U.S. birth control maker

Das Firmenlogo des Chemiekonzerns Bayer AG ist am Freitag, 24. Maerz 2006, auf wehenden Flaggen auf dem Firmengelaende in Leverkusen zu sehen. Der Bayer-Konzern hat im Bieterkampf um die Schering AG mit einer Offerte von 16,3 Milliarden Euro ueberraschend den Darmstaedter Konkurrenten Merck ueberboten. Gelingt der Bayer-Coup waere es der groesste Zusammenschluss in der deutschen Pharmaindustrie. Verlierer waeren allerdings die Arbeitnehmer. Denn Bayer plant nach der Uebernahme den Abbau von rund 6.000 Stellen weltweit. Dies entspricht einem Zehntel des Personals in den Pharmasparten beider Unternehmen. (AP Photo/Hermann J. Knippertz) --- Flags bearing the Bayer AG logo fly on the company's compound in front of the Bayer headquarters in Leverkusen, Germany, Friday, March 24, 2006. Bayer AG's move to expand its pharmaceuticals unit with a 16.3 billion (US$19.6 billion) offer for drug maker Schering AG was embraced enthusiastically by its target and also drew a welcome Friday from investors. Bayer's white-knight bid, announced late Thursday, trumped a hostile 14.9 billion (US$17.9 billion) offer from a third German firm, Merck KGaA, that Schering had spent two weeks trying to fend off. Darmstadt-based Merck did not comment on the cash bid by Bayer, but Schering called it highly attractive. (AP Photo/Hermann J. Knippertz)

FRANKFURT, Germany Germany drug company Bayer AG says it intends to buy California-based Conceptus to expand its birth control offerings.

Bayer said Monday it would launch a public offer to pay $31.00 per share for all the stock in Conceptus, Inc. That means Bayer would pay $1.1 billion.

Conceptus makes Essure, an irreversible birth control method in which metal and polyester coils are inserted to block a woman's fallopian tubes. The procedure can be done in 10 minutes a doctor's office.

Conceptus CEO D. Keith Grossman was quoted in a Bayer statement as saying Essure "will benefit in new markets from Bayer's global presence."

The deal is subject to approval by antitrust authorities and could be completed by midyear.

Conceptus is based in Mountain View, Calif., and employs about 300 people.