The small-vs.-big deal debate rages on

Ever since the megamerger wave began, there's been a debate about whether small, strategic deals trump big-time combos. On the megamerger side, we have the few Big Pharma heavyweights that are becoming even heavier: Pfizer, by swallowing Wyeth; Merck, by reverse-merging with Schering-Plough; and Roche, by snapping up the chunk of Genentech it didn't already own. Meanwhile, GlaxoSmithKline CEO Andrew Witty (photo) and his ex-colleague, Sanofi-Aventis chief Chris Viehbacher (photo), have been quite vocal in their preference for smaller acquisitions. Bayer's Werner Wenning hasn't been quite so vociferous, but he's on the small-deal side, too.

Add to that small-is-beautiful list Abbott Laboratories--and its current champion, Motley Fool. On the heels of Abbott's $400 million buyout of ophthalmology concern Visiogen, the investment analyst came out in favor of the company's path to growth. Which also happens to be Glaxo's and Sanofi's, among others.

"As I see it, the path to health-care supremacy isn't through your large acquisitions of Wyeth and Schering-Plough but through lots of small acquisitions," the Fool reports. "Sure, Abbott's acquisition of privately held Visiogen for $400 million yesterday didn't get the same fanfare as your acquisitions that topped $40 billion, but if you do enough of those deals, it seems likely that you'll get more bang for your buck." Of course only time will tell how much bang each strategy yields. But in the meantime, let us know what you think.

- read the Motley Fool column
- see the news about Abbott from MarketWatch