Pfizer’s execs have said they’re not going to pause on dealmaking to wait for a potential U.S. tax code revamp that could free up cash trapped overseas. They may have another plan to drum up M&A funds, though.
The New York drugmaker is looking into a sale of a portfolio of meds that includes treatments in cardiology, urology and primary care, Bloomberg reports. The company has brought on JPMorgan Chase & Co. to advise it on the process.
Divesting the stable of meds, which generate sales of more than $700 million—about 40% of which come from the U.S., and another 45% from Europe—could net Pfizer more than $2 billion, sources told the news service. Other drugmakers and private equity firms could be among the suitors, they said.
Pfizer hasn’t been shy about discussing its intent to keep the deal train rolling. At the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in January, CFO Frank D’Amelio told investors the company was looking for deals that could pad its top line “now or soon,” the way its $16 billion Hospira buy, its $14 billion Medivation pact and its $5 billion Anacor pickup have.
And earlier this week, on the company’s fourth-quarter earnings call, CEO Ian Read told shareholders loud and clear that Pfizer wouldn’t be sitting around waiting for tax reform before making its moves.
“We’re going to play the cards we get dealt,” he said. “The change in the tax code may reduce competition for assets from external buyers, and it may alter somewhat the overall cost to make an acquisition, but it’s not dramatic in the sense of, ‘we’re going to take a year pause and see what the tax code’s going to do.’”
And some analysts already have ideas for which targets Pfizer should go after when it does pull the trigger again. Bernstein’s Tim Anderson’s thought? Bristol-Myers Squibb, whose share are floundering after a couple of setbacks in the company’s Opdivo development program.