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6/12/2017 5:14:00 PM
Company's acquisition of Mead Johnson Nutritional to be completed Thursday

John Martin, Evansville Courier & Press

Reckitt Benckiser Group announced that it has received final regulatory approval to acquire Mead Johnson Nutrition Co., and completion of the deal is expected to occur Thursday.

The $16.6 billion deal was announced in February. Mead Johnson, the maker of Enfamil infant nutrition formula, has operated a manufacturing plant in Evansville for 102 years. Its headquarters are in the Chicago area.

Mead Johnson is the the world's No. 2 infant formula maker. It was a part of Bristol-Myers Squibb until 2009.

The company has about 950 employees in Evansville who earn $85 million in wages and $30 million in benefits. Ninety or so Evansville employees have advanced degrees

Reckitt Benckiser has operations in more than 60 countries, with headquarters in London, Dubai and Amsterdam, and sales in most countries across the globe. The company employs approximately 37,000 people worldwide.

Officials with Reckitt Benckiser have given no indication about reduction in force in Evansville. Greg Wathen, director of the Southwest Indiana Economic Development Coalition, said "it would seem improbable" for Reckitt Benckiser to cut resources in Evansville since the company is not currently in the formula-making business.

If a company that already made formula bought Mead Johnson, he concern about cuts would be far greater, Wathen said.

"We'll probably get a better sense of what the impact is going to be here shortly," Wathen said. "It's like anything else, we're kind of waiting. But understand that when a company like RB is buying a company like Mead Johnson, they are doing it for a specific reason ... it's a product like RB doesn't possess. We're always cautiously optimistic in that regard."

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Editor, John C. DePrez Jr.; Executive Editor, Carol Rogers; Publishers: IBRC and IAR

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