Is Pfizer About To Be On Acquisition Path? (PFE, AMGN, WYE, GILD, BMY, LLY, SGP, CELG, GENZ, BIIB)

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There may be some speculation that drug giant Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) is looking at expansion through acquisitions.  The FT reported that the world’s largest pharmaceutical company is willing to acquire a large rival drug company.  It even cites the CEO as saying the company real goal is to grow revenue, which is different than many other goals out there from other peers in the new market.  It also brings about the questions about who could be on the buyout target list.

Our belief is that Pfizer would not try to attempt a merger of"almost equals" as the integration would take forever, and the overlapswould be too many.  Here is a list of companies 247WallSt.com haslooked at in the past that are in the drug and biotech sectors whichwould be large enough of acquisitions to make a dent to the Pfizerportfolio (and even in rival drug giants):

Stock (Ticker)                             MktCap
Amgen Inc. (AMGN)                    $62.5B   
Wyeth (WYE)                             $51.1B   
Gilead Sciences Inc. (GILD)         $47.5B
Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. (BMY)   $47.3B   
Eli Lilly & Co. (LLY)                     $46.1B   
Schering-Plough Corp. (SGP)       $28.2B
Celgene Corporation (CELG)         $25.9B
Genzyme Corp. (GENZ)                $18.4B   
Biogen Idec Inc. (BIIB)                  $14.1B

First, being "willing to" should only be considered a"corporate test of the waters" to see how the market will react if itchooses to do this.  There were also many caveats such as long-termgoals and shareholder interests.  Despite Pfizer’s problems and despiteits fall from grace, it still boasts a market cap of more than$120 billion.

As a reminder, this may just be the first attempt for the company tosee how the market will receive this strategy.  So far there are no realindications that any deal is imminent.  There is also the issue thatthe cost to borrow funds now would require that deals be made eitherwith existing cash (and credit lines already on the books), is stock,or in a combination of cash and stock.

Jon C. Ogg
January 5, 2009