Lilly chief: Megamergers 'driven by weakness'

To deal or not to deal--that is the current pharma question. And Eli Lilly CEO John Lechleiter's (photo) choice is "not." At least when it comes to megamergers, the Lilly chief not only forswears the activity for himself, but is less-than-complimentary when it comes to his rivals' M&A announcements. "Most of what I have read about large mergers is that they are very disruptive to research and development," is one such pronouncement, made to the Financial Times. He also told the paper that recent deals have been "driven more by weakness."

When it comes to internal company talk, Lechleiter is even more blunt. As the FT notes, he recently posted a deal critique to Lilly's internal blog saying that the recent spate of megamergers doesn't "answer or even address the question." And in another post, he wrote, "Call me a stubborn Midwesterner, but I/we continue to believe that these megadeals never made any sense to begin with and don't make sense now ... We are flat out not interested in being part of a big combination."

Combining with Bristol-Myers Squibb? Not interested, Lechleiter promises. But is Lilly completely in control of its destiny? Analysts continually peg the company as an M&A candidate; could some company come along and snap Lilly up? The FT says the company is rather protected from hostile takeover because of strong ties to major shareholders. What do you think?

- read the FT story