You could get a headache trying to name all of Bayer's products. The company, which created aspirin in 1897, makes pharmaceuticals, OTC drugs, and animal health care products through Bayer HealthCare, plastics and high-performance specialty materials via Bayer MaterialScience, and crop protection and home garden care items through Bayer CropScience. Aside from Bayer Aspirin, the company's best-known consumer brands include Aleve, Alka-Seltzer, and One-A-Day vitamins. Its top selling pharmaceuticals include multiple sclerosis treatment Betaseron and birth control pill YAZ. Also known as Bayer Group, the firm has some 300 operating subsidiaries worldwide; it operates in the US through Bayer Corporation.
The majority of Bayer's sales come from European countries (roughly 40% of revenues) and North America (about 25% of sales), and most of the company's core manufacturing facilities are in Germany and the US.
Sales and Marketing
Bayer markets over 5,000 products through a global sales and distribution network. Offerings from its largest division, the HealthCare segment, are distributed primarily through wholesalers and pharmacy chains, while CropScience products are sold through wholesalers and regional distributors.
Bayer is growing all three of its core businesses by enhancing its strong positions in key markets, as well as by expanding into emerging geographic areas and investing in innovative technologies. Within its HealthCare division, which accounts for just about half of its annual sales, the company's growth strategy includes making targeted acquisitions, entering into licensing and development deals with other pharmaceutical companies, and performing in-house research and development. To counteract the effect of weakened sales in Europe and North America, the HealthCare Pharmaceuticals segment is working to expand drug marketing efforts in China, Brazil, Mexico, Russia, and other high-growth markets.
As revenue from the company's healthcare business has grown, it has made moves to focus its efforts there. To that end, in 2014 Bayer announced it would spin off Bayer MaterialScience in an IPO.
Mergers and Acquisitions
Acquisitions in the health arena include the company's 2014 purchase of Merck's consumer care business, which brought well-known brands including Claritin, MiraLAX, Coppertone, and Dr. Scholl's under the Bayer umbrella. The company paid about $14.2 billion for the deal and moved into second place globally among OTC companies, between a Novartis- GlaxoSmithKline joint venture and Johnson & Johnson.