A day after Bayer decided not to enter any bidding war for Schiff Nutrition International, the UK's Reckitt Benckiser, which had topped the German group's bid, has now signed a definitive agreement to buy the US vitamins company.

The board at Schiff has approved the transaction and will recommend that stockholders accept Reckitt 's offer of $42.00 per share, valuing Schiff at $1.40 billion. The bid will end on December 14 but could be extended.

Reckitt beat Bayer's bid by around $200 million and earlier this week the Leverkusen-headquartered firm said that "entering a competitive bidding process…would result in a price outside Bayer’s set financial criteria".

Rakesh Kapoor, Reckitt's chief executive, said that "we are very pleased to have reached a mutually beneficial agreement with Schiff and are excited to enter the $30 billion global vitamins, minerals and supplements market with such a strong portfolio of high-quality branded business in the USA". Schiff is strong in areas such as joint care (Move Free), cardiovascular health (MegaRed) and immune support (Airborne), while in the USA, Reckitt has a number of big brands including the nasal decongestant Mucinex, Cepacol for sore throats and  Durex condoms.