Reckitt Benckiser to buy Mead Johnson for US$16.6bn

British consumer health giant Reckitt Benckiser agreed to buy US infant formula maker Mead Johnson for US$16.6 billion (about HK$129 billion) in a move that will help the company grow in China.

Reckitt Benckiser, whose brands include sore throat medicine Strepsils, the hair removal brand Beet, Durex condoms and antiseptic brand Dettol, said the deal was pitched at $90 per share and will "significantly strengthen" its presence in developing markets like China.

China will become Reckitt Benckiser's second-largest market behind the United States following the acquisition of Mead Johnson.

The deal will also mark Reckitt Benckiser's first step into the infant-food market.

"The acquisition of Mead Johnson is a significant step forward in Reckitt Benckiser’s journey as a leader in consumer health," said Rakesh Kapoor, chief executive at Reckitt Benckiser.