Pfizer Not Getting The Love Before Analyst Meeting

The day before Pfizer's analyst meeting tomorrow investors are not showing much love for the beaten-down Dow component. PFE's trading in the early going today at its lowest level since December 2005.


Deutsche Bank big pharma analyst Barbara Ryan is telling clients in a research note to keep their expectations low for tomorrow. She writes, "We expect little positive news flow from the event." Ryan maintains that PFE needs to do a big deal. "With $16 billion in net cash, and substantial borrowing power, clearly PFE has the wherewithal to be acquisitive," she says.

Ryan has had a longtime "Buy" rating on PFE, though, in large part due to its bond-like dividend yield of nearly six percent. DB owns at least one percent of PFE shares, makes a market in the stock and wants to do investment banking for the company.

I will not be doing an interview tomorrow with Chairman and CEO Jeff Kindler, but he will be talking to Maria Bartiromo on "Closing Bell" at 3 and 4 p.m. ET. I'm pleased he's doing an interview with CNBC, but unhappy with the way Pfizer handled the booking. As the pharma beat reporter, I sent at least two emails over the past few weeks to one of Pfizer's top PR people asking if or when Mr. Kindler would be available for an interview at the upcoming analyst meeting and received no reply to either one. Radio silence.

I should've known something was up. Not until late last week, did the spokesman inform my producer that he'd been working for months to try to arrange a Kindler sit-down with Maria. I'm a team player. As long as CNBC gets him first, that's all I really care about. All I ask--all I think any reporter asks--is that corporate PR people shoot straight. Be up front. Don't lie. I still think I'm being penalized for asking Mr. Kindler in late 2006 how he goes from selling chicken as the head of "Boston Market" to running the world's biggest pharmaceutical company.

It's a question an increasing number of big investors are apparently asking according to prominent article in today's "Wall Street Journal" about the Pfizer CEO being in the "hot seat." (Subscription needed)

And I'm not alone in finding Mr. Kindler to be a hard "get." The paper reports, "Pfizer declined repeated requests to make Mr. Kindler available for an interview, citing his annual strategy update to Wall Street, planned for Wednesday.

The meeting is set to start at 8:30 a.m. ET tomorrow. You can access the live web cast here.

Questions? Comments?