J&J 'not sitting back' on Remicade deal

You have to love those annual meetings. Shareholders get to ask nosy questions, and company executives get to decide whether to answer directly--or artfully deflect. Such was the case yesterday at Johnson & Johnson's shareholder confab, when a stockholder asked just what J&J is doing about its partnership with Schering-Plough on Remicade.

As you know, J&J and Schering work together on the anti-inflammatory drug, and their agreement includes a provision that, should either company change ownership, the whole thing might be up for grabs. With Merck and Schering in the midst of a $40 billion-plus merger, the Remicade deal has been a key point of contention and speculation. Merck structured the deal as a "reverse merger"--apparently to avoid problems with the change-in-control provision--but still J&J carries the bully stick.

So what did J&J CEO Bill Weldon (photo) say? "We are analyzing the situation and I can't disclose any of the discussions we're having," Weldon said (as reported by the Wall Street Journal). "Rest assured we're not sitting back and doing nothing."

We'll leave it to you to decide: Direct answer? Or artful dodging?

- read the WSJ piece