The "Financial Times" apparently got a one-on-one interview with Pfizer Chairman and CEO Jeff Kindler and is playing up what he said with the headline, "Pfizer eyes merger deal with large rival." That conclusion is based on this quote: "We are open to opportunities and constantly looking at those which are big, small and in-between."
"Is this new news?", asks Miller Tabak healthcare analyst Les Funtleyder in a research note to clients this morning.
Indeed, Mr. Kindler has been saying nearly the exact same thing for months. For example, check out my blog post from the company's annual analyst meeting last Marchwhen Kindler told the crowd, "We remain open to everything." He did, however, say that he thought a megamerger usually doesn't work very well.
But maybe given the fact that the stock has fallen 18 percent since the analyst day last March, Kindler may be more open to the idea of doing a big deal. If nothing else, the combined companies could cut costs some more. Pfizer's problem is that its $13-billion-a-year drug Lipitor goes generic in two to three years and it doesn't have anything in its drug development pipeline to fill that gaping hole.
Kindler isn't doing the presentation at the JPMorgan Healthcare Conference next week. Dr. Martin Mackay, the head of research and development, will be handling that task. But I think I'm still on for a one-on-one interview with Kindler when PFE reports its 2008 earnings later this month.
P.S. Notice that I didn't gloat about the USC Trojans opening up a can of whupp-you-know-what on Penn State at the Rose Bowl. Fight On!
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