Seems there's no real consensus on whether the Pfizer-Wyeth merger is a good thing. As CNBC reports, two analysts put out virtually opposite opinions on the megadeal yesterday. One, Seamus Fernandez at Leerink Swann, boosted its Pfizer rating to "Outperform" from "Market perform." Not only is Pfizer stock cheap these days, but in Fernandez's opinion, Pfizer's long-term "strategic positioning" is way better than it has been. Plus, it has some late-stage candidates that could bear big fruit in a couple of years.
Sounds good, eh? Watch out for the cold water from Tim Anderson of Sanford C. Bernstein, one of the most oft-quoted pharma analysts. Though Wyeth will help to fill the Lipitor gap when the huge-selling statin goes off patent, Anderson says, the deal will extract the lifeblood from Pfizer's R&D productivity.
It wasn't so long ago, Anderson reminds us, that Pfizer CEO Jeff Kindler (photo) said roughly the same thing: "Look, the Warner-Lambert and Pharmacia transactions brought us a lot of things," Anderson's note to clients quotes Kindler as saying in March 2008. "But they took a long time to integrate, they were extremely disruptive...you can't get around the fact that it impacted our R&D productivity." The analyst is cutting his Pfizer price target to $17 from $18.
- read the CNBC column