Merck (NYSE:MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, today announced that its board of directors approved the separation of Organon & Co. (Organon), and declared a special dividend distribution of one-tenth of a share of Organon common stock for every Merck common share outstanding as of the close of business on May 17, 2021, the record date for the distribution. The Company also announced that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has declared effective the Registration Statement on Form 10 filed by Organon. The Form 10 includes information regarding Organon's business and strategy as well as details on the spinoff, which is expected to be completed on June 2, 2021.
"We are pleased to announce the full details of Organon's spinoff from Merck, commencing later this month. This spinoff will position Organon as a successful, independent, publicly traded company with a compelling portfolio of important medicines, particularly in women's health," said Rob Davis, president, Merck. "Organon will have a significant impact on women's health around the world, providing benefits to patients and shareholders alike."
Organon will not issue fractional shares of its common stock in the distribution. Instead, holders of Merck common shares will receive cash in lieu of any fractional shares of Organon common stock that they would otherwise be entitled to. Merck expects the special dividend of Organon stock will be distributed on June 2, 2021.
There is no current market for Organon common stock. The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) has authorized the listing of Organon common stock under the symbol "OGN". Organon has been advised that trading in its common stock is expected to begin on a "when issued" basis on May 14, 2021, under the symbol "OGN.WI." "When issued" trading of Organon common stock will continue until Merck pays the special dividend distribution of Organon common stock on June 2, 2021. Organon "when issued" trades are expected to settle after June 2, 2021, with shares of Organon as a standalone company.
Beginning on May 14, 2021, and continuing through June 2, 2021, Merck expects that common shares of Merck will trade in two markets on the NYSE: "regular-way" under the symbol "MRK" and in the "ex-distribution" market under the symbol "MRK.WI." Merck shares trading under "MRK" will carry the right to receive shares of Organon through the special dividend distribution. Merck shares trading under "MRK.WI" will not carry the right to receive shares of Organon through the special dividend distribution.
Merck shareholders who sell their shares in the "regular-way" market on or before June 2, 2021, will also be selling their entitlement to receive the Organon special dividend distribution of Organon common stock. Merck shareholders are encouraged to consult with their financial advisors regarding the specific consequences of selling Merck common shares on or before June 2, 2021.
On June 3, 2021, regular-way trading will commence on the NYSE for Organon under the symbol "OGN" and will continue for Merck under the symbol "MRK."