Merck KGaA was founded in 1668 by Friedrich Jacob Merck in Darmstadt, Germany when he purchased a drug store. The company grew into a chemical-pharmaceutical company that was run by the Merck family for generations.
In 1891 George Merck emigrated to the United States and set up Merck & Co. as an American subsidiary.
Under wartime policy, Merck & Co. was confiscated in 1917 and established as an independent American company.
In 1953, Merck merged with Sharp & Dohme, Inc to become the largest U.S. drug maker. The merger united Merck’s strength in scientific research and chemical manufacturing with Sharp & Dohme’s sales and distribution system, as well as their marketing expertise.
In 1993 Merck completed the acquisition of one of the largest mail-order pharmacy and managed-care drug companies, Medco Containment Services, Inc, for $6 billion.
Today Merck is one of the seven largest pharmaceutical companies in the world by market capitalization and revenue.
Merck trades on the NYSE under the symbol MRK, is part of the S&P 500, has 86,000 employees, and had revenue of $48.047 billion in 2012.