Well, we suspect the comparisons were inevitable. But still, it can't be fun to be Pfizer right now, watching all the post-merger kudos go to Merck.
Not only have analysts predicted solid growth for the new Merck, but have been praising management for its discipline and commitment. While as you know, Pfizer execs got an earful of criticism--and a stock-price hit--when it forecast post-merger sales substantially lower than it had predicted earlier. The Wall Street Journal Health Blog even theorized that Merck's earnings announcement was crafted to avoid the pitfalls Pfizer faced.
"People are encouraged that [Merck is] really going to be able to squeeze the costs out of this merger, even in the face of some heavy generic competition for some of their big products," Jon Lecroy, an analyst for Hapoalim Securities USA, told the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Meanwhile, Robert Hazlett, a BMO Capital Markets analyst, specifically said Merck's first post-merger earnings statements offered a contrast with those of Pfizer. "In general, Merck's management team has a demonstrated track record of being able to wring efficiency gains out of its operations," Hazlett said in an interview with the newspaper. Of course we'll have to wait and see how the numbers continue to stack up.