An Ode to Wyeth

Antitrust issues in the U.S. and Canada done,
There's nothing left to do.
Pfizer (NYSE: PFE  ) wed its bride Wyeth (NYSE: WYE  ) today,
And to that I say: "Boo-hoo."

(Don't worry, I'm done rhyming.)

The ticker will be gone -- oh, WYE, WYE, WYE? Not even a hyphenated name will remain. What would founders John and Frank Wyeth think?

Of course, it hadn't been Wyeth for very long -- only since 2002. Before that it was American Home Products. A catchy name, for sure. But not the company Wyeth had become.

Turning into a Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ  ) , Abbott Labs (NYSE: ABT  ) , or Bayer wasn't in the cards. It shunned its agriculture division, household products and candy -- yes, candy! -- years earlier. Wyeth had become a pharmaceutical specialist. Perhaps that was its downfall?

Or maybe it was Fen-phen. Merck's (NYSE: MRK  ) Vioxx was its only saving grace -- from having Fen-phen mentioned every time safety issues arose.

Whatever the reason, Pfizer liked what it saw: a nice vaccine in Prevnar and a biologic with Enbrel. Those should be much harder to copy than Lipitor, that's for sure.

Ironically, it was a smaller acquisition of American Cyanamid that jump-started vaccines. Enbrel came through an Immunex partnership, before Amgen (Nasdaq: AMGN  ) snatched it up. Wonder what Pfizer could have gotten. Several smaller purchases instead of the $68 billion one?

No matter, it's done.
On to cost-saving-synergy lists that can't fail.
It's the pipeline I'm worried about;
R&D doesn't scale.

(Sorry, couldn't help myself.)

What are your expectations of the new Pfizer? Would you buy shares today (or tomorrow)? Let us know in the comments below.

Pfizer is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation. Johnson & Johnson is an Income Investor selection. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

Fool contributor Brian Orelli, Ph.D., doesn't own shares of any company mentioned in this article. The Fool has a disclosure policy.


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Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On October 16, 2009, at 9:50 AM, arizonadavey wrote:

    What's the status of the Merck-SGP deal....what date will it become effective?

  • Report this Comment On October 18, 2009, at 11:20 PM, TMFBiologyFool wrote:

    The closing dates usually aren't announced until a day (or two) before. Essentially everything clears anti-trust regulators, and they close the thing.

    -Brian

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