Pfizer's (NYSE:PFE) long-awaited deal is finally done. Last week, the big drugmaker completed its merger of Upjohn with Mylan. The transaction created a new entity, Viatris (NASDAQ:VTRS), that's a leader in branded and generic drugs and biosimilars.
If you owned Pfizer shares prior to the close of the deal, you now also own roughly 0.124079 shares of Viatris for every one share of Pfizer common stock held. Should Pfizer shareholders sell their Viatris stock? Or does holding make more sense for now?
A big reason to sell
I've been a fan of the Upjohn-Mylan merger for quite a while. My view was that the deal was great news for Pfizer shareholders. It clears the path for Pfizer to return to solid growth. The transaction also gave the big drugmaker a $12 billion cash windfall that it can put to good use.
Pfizer will be able to deliver better growth going forward for one simple reason: It won't have older drugs such as Lyrica that are rapidly losing market share to generic alternatives weighing it down. However, Viatris will have those drugs in its lineup.
Viatris also faces other headwinds. There's continued price erosion for generic drugs in the U.S. China's volume-based procurement program is creating pricing pressure. Unfortunately, neither Mylan nor Upjohn brought enough products with fast-rising sales to overcome these challenges right out of the gate.
If you're looking for growth, selling the pharma stock makes sense. Even Viatris' own forecast doesn't project much revenue growth for the next four years.
A big reason to hold, too
Before you log into your online brokerage or call your stockbroker to sell Viatris, it's important to note there's a good reason to hang onto your shares. I suspect that many Pfizer shareholders bought the stock in large part because of its strong dividend. If you're in that group, you might absolutely love Viatris.
The new company doesn't pay a dividend yet. However, Viatris has committed to initiating a dividend program in its first full quarter of operations. Here's the kicker: Viatris intends to return a minimum of 25% of free cash flow to shareholders through its dividends.
Based on where things stand right now, Viatris could offer a dividend yield of more than 5%. That's a lot better than Pfizer's current yield of around 4.2%.
Could this be a situation where Viatris starts out with a great dividend but has to cut it down the road? I don't think so. Even with the company's headwinds, its revenue should be relatively stable throughout the first half of the decade and potentially grow in the second half. Viatris' bottom line should improve throughout the period as it realizes cost synergies.
No one-size-fits-all answer
The reality is that there isn't a universal answer about whether or not you should sell or hold Viatris stock. It depends on your investing goals.
Investors who want tremendous growth won't like Viatris. Of course, they haven't received market-beating returns from Pfizer in recent years, either.
On the other hand, income-seeking investors will probably love Viatris. It will soon provide a really attractive dividend. And the company's business model should enable it to generate reliable cash flows.
If you're on the fence, perhaps the best thing to do is wait a while before making a decision. You can benefit from Pfizer's renewed growth and continued strong dividends plus Viatris' even juicier dividends. That's not a bad combination at all.