PARIS--The announced merger of the life sciences activities of Hoechst and Rhone-Poulenc would yield a combined $3 billion research and development budget--the industry's largest--to the new company, which will be named Aventis. It will be incorporated in France with headquarters in Strasbourg. Hoechst and Rhone Poulenc will each own 50 percent of Aventis but will continue to be listed separately, under the new names Aventis Hoechst and Aventis Rhone-Poulenc.

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