Bayer up on Pfizer buyout talk

Market matchmakers won't leave Pfizer alone. Today, rumors are circulating that the drugmaker is negotiating to buy Bayer, which has a healthy pipeline and a strong consumer drugs business. The euro-conglomerate saw its stock rise about 4 percent on the market chatter.

Would Pfizer do such a thing? Well, we all know that the drugmaker needs to pump up its business, fast. It's losing a major chunk of revenue when Lipitor goes off patent, and so far there's not much waiting to fill that gap. And Bayer's market cap of some $59 billion wouldn't be too big to swallow for the $157 billion-cap Pfizer--especially considering that Bayer would presumably be broken up in such a deal. Bayer's healthcare business accounts for only a third of its revenue, and Pfizer wouldn't be interested in the chemicals businesses.

But Pfizer just recently sold off its non-prescription drug biz to Johnson & Johnson, so why would it want to buy into another one? And as the Wall Street Journal Health Blog points out, Bayer just granted U.S. rights to one of Bayer's most promising drug candidates, rivaroxaban, to J&J. That takes a big asset off the table. For their part, Bayer and Pfizer are refusing comment.

- read the post at the New York Times DealBook
- check out the Health Blog's take