A quartet of US firms have won lead roles on Merck’s $41bn (£27.77bn) bid for pharmaceuticals rival Schering-Plough.

Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson partners David Shine, Philip Richter, William Reindel and Damian Ridealgh led a team advising Merck.

Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz partner Andy Brownstein advised Schering Plough.

Merck is a longstanding Fried Frank client. In 2004 partners Shine, David Shapiro and Jonathan Lewis advised the pharmaceutical company on its acquisition of Aton Pharma.

On the Schering Plough acquisition Shearman & Sterling’s New York-based partners Peter Lyons, Jessica Nielsen and Eliza Swann led the team advising Morgan Stanley as underwriter, while Sullivan & Cromwell partners George Sampas and Stephen Kotran advised co-underwriter Goldman Sachs.

The deal comes at a time of consolidation in the pharmaceuticals industry.

Earlier this year (26 January) The Lawyer reported that Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft partner Dennis Block led the firm’s team that advised Pfizer
on its $68bn (£49.42bn) takeover of rival Wyeth.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett partner Casey Cogut advised Wyeth on the deal.
Wachtell also had a role on the Wyeth deal, advising the company’s directors.

Last summer (22 July 2008) The Lawyer reported on Davis Polk & Wardwell client Roche’s $45.7bn (£33.22bn) bid for Genentech. Genentech instructed longstanding adviser Latham & Watkins.

All firms involved were unavailable for comment.