With big pharma companies seemingly intent on slimming down at the moment, the rumour that Pfizer is looking to acquire AstraZeneca (AZ) in a $101bn deal seems like a step back in time.
If confirmed, the deal would be much bigger than any consummated in the late 1990s and 2000s, including Pfizer's own $68bn acquisition of Wyeth in 2009, the $74bn merger that created GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in 2000 and the $56bn acquisition of Pharmacia by Pfizer in 2002.
A report in the Sunday Times suggests that talks between the two companies were actually held several months ago but have lapsed, adding that Pfizer is likely to try a hostile attempt as AZ resisted its initial overture. Meanwhile, other commentators have been quick to point out the merits of the deal.
Pfizer would be able to tap into a reinvigorated AZ pipeline that has been bolstered with a series of licensing deals and acquisitions in the last couple of years, including the recent purchase of rights to a diabetes franchise formerly co-owned with Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) and a well-regarded cancer pipeline that includes a number of immunotherapies.
For its part, the US drug major has a large pipeline - although it lacks candidates with big sales potential - and has a stated ambition to boost its position in oncology. The merger could also provide an opportunity for Pfizer to invest its approximately $70bn in cash reserves outside the US and reduce its tax burden and provide significant cost-saving opportunities.
Meanwhile, Pfizer has started to emerge from a patent cliff while AZ is still facing expirations on key earners such as gastrointestinal therapy Nexium (esomeprazole) and cholesterol-lowerer Crestor (rosuvastatin).
Analyst Andrew Baum of Citi said in a research note yesterday he expects Pfizer to "push aggressively" for a merger, while there is already speculation that the publicity surrounding the negotiation will flush out other potential suitors, including Novartis and GSK, that have been linked with AZ in the recent past.
It has been argued that mega-mergers have been an exercise in destroying value in the pharma sector, with the challenges and disruption associated with bringing together two corporations outweighing the effect of combining pipelines, increased marketing muscle and cost-savings.
However, a recent report from McKinsey & Co turned that viewpoint on its head, suggesting that at least in terms of shareholder value and profits mega-mergers worked and - in some cases - were critical for the long-term sustainability of the acquiring companies.(Ver)
US pharmaceuticals giant tells City it is keen to pursue the biggest ever foreign takeover of a UK company, and has been rebuffed by AstraZeneca for the second time
Pfizer's statement to the City
Astra shares soar 15%, pushing value to almost £60bn
Pfizer confirms interest in AstraZeneca merger
Pfizer has made a second attempt to buy AstraZeneca after an initial request was rejected in January.
Las compañías impulsan sus divisiones estratégicas y se desprenden del resto (Ver)
A la espera de que se confirmen o desmientan los rumores que vinculan a Pfizer con una nueva macrocompra (la 'víctima' esta vez podría ser AstraZeneca), y de que los responsables de Allergan respondan a la oferta realizada por Valeant, cabría concluir que la nueva moda, dentro de las operaciones empresariales que tienen lugar en el seno de la industria farmacéutica, pasa por realizar adquisiciones más 'modestas', pero que sirvan para reforzar las divisiones estratégicas de las compañías, que a la vez se están desprendiendo de las que ofrecen peores perspectivas de futuro o que, simplemente, no resultan tan atractivas. El último ejemplo se puede encontrar en la operación a tres bandas anunciada por Novartis, de la que también participan GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) y Eli Lilly.
GSK y Novartis se alian para crear una "join venture" con sus carteras de autocuidado.
Slide: F.Comas/Curso Postgrado Mktg.Farmacéutico Facultad Farmacia/Universidad Central de Venezuela (UCV)