Poussot and pink slips and Bextra, oh my

We thought yesterday was all Wy-Pfi, all the time, but today's news line-up may even beat that. As the initial surprise wore off and folks started digging, a host of new angles emerged on the big Pfizer-Wyeth deal. Here's a roundup of a few we found most interesting:

  • Buried in the Pfizer announcement was a $2.3 billion disclosure: the company is taking that whopping charge against earnings to settle alleged off-label marketing claims with the U.S. Attorney in Massachusetts, "plus other open investigations." The off-label infractions involved the Bextra pain reliever, which has already cost Pfizer millions in personal injury settlements. The $2.3 billion deal easily smashes Eli Lilly's record $1.42 billion settlement over Zyprexa marketing.
  • Wyeth execs missed big-time severance compensation by that much. Back in 2006, the company's board cut the payout execs would receive if it changed hands--by 55 percent, the New York Times reports. CEO Bernard Poussot (photo), for instance, would have received $38,050,265 under the previous severance agreement, compared with $18,281,133 under the change-in-control compensation that went into effect just three weeks ago. Poor Bernie.
  • If the deal goes through, Pfizer's announced 8,000 in layoffs will grow to almost 20,000. Cuts will affect both companies' home offices--in Manhattan and Madison, N.J.--but will hit field operations harder, a Pfizer spokesperson told the NYT
  • Ratings agencies Standard & Poors and Moody's Investors Service put Pfizer's credit under review for a possible downgrade because of the Wyeth deal. Now AAA, Pfizer's rating, could be lowered to AA by S&P. Moody's is looking at knocking down its Aa1 long-term rating. As you know, Pfizer has said it will borrow $22.5 billion as part of the $68 billion acquisition.
  • The details of Pfizer and Wyeth's merger agreement give both companies--plus the five banks that have agreed to finance the deal--a few loopholes to back out of, the Financial Times reports. If company credit ratings drop below a certain level, or if Pfizer's business suffers a "material adverse change," it could wiggle free of the deal. But it would cost the company a $4.5 billion penalty. In either case, the banks would have the option to bail. 

What about you? Have you heard about any other offshoots from the biggest buyout in pharma? Fill us in.

- get more on Bextra from the Wall Street Journal Health Blog
- read the Wyeth exec article in the NYT
- see the ratings news from the Associated Press
- find out details about the layoffs in the NYT
- check out the FT piece

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