Germany’s Merck KGaA has secured the financial support it needs to marry Swiss biotechnology group Serono, after successfully completing the syndication of an 11.5 billion euro multi-currency term loan and revolving credit facility.

The group said in a statement that the syndication received outstanding support from the international banking market, with 46 banks from 12 countries acceding to the transaction, and that it will use the loan to buy the majority stake in Serono, fund a public tender offer and provide working capital lines.

Merck first announced its agreement to buy the Bertarelli family’s 64.5% controlling stake in the group for 1,100 Swiss Francs per share back in September, in a deal worth 10.6 billion euros ($13.5 billion).

Although the deal was, at first, met with some trepidation, investor confidence was given a boost in October when Serono beat general expectations with a 20% hike in third-quarter net profits to $171 million. And supporters of the move say it will elevate Merck's position in biologic medicines, boost its product pipeline to include 28 projects, and create a company with a research budget in the order of 1 billion euros a year.

Based on 2005 figures, the new Merck group would have pro-forma sales of

7.7 billion euros, including 3.6 billion euros in biopharmaceutical turnover.