It had to happen. Once Pfizer CEO Jeff Kindler told the Financial Times that he's open to big acquisitions, the backseat matchmaking began. Never mind the fact that Kindler simply said Pfizer is keeping all options on the table. "Willing to consider" is translated as "on the verge of making a deal with [insert suggested buyout target here]."
Media critics might say that, knowing the above, responsible journalists would eschew the gossip. But deal speculation is a longstanding tradition in business journalism. Plus, everyone else's jabbering has the potential to inspire investors to buy or sell, so the talk itself is a story. Which we will duly report upon--with the caveat that it's all speculation. To our knowledge no one has been a fly on the wall in Kindler's office.
Jim Cramer raises some analysts' favorite pick: Amgen. He adds Gilead Science, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Wyeth to his list of possibilities. Why? These companies could "boost its biotech street credibility" and/or add a drug or several to Pfizer's stable--which the company badly needs, considering the looming loss of $13 billion Lipitor in 2011. Amgen would bring biotech manufacturing capacity along with some big drugs, Cramer points out. Gilead would help Pfizer push further into the HIV market. BMS would help with cancer and HIV. Wyeth has a big vaccines business and biologic manufacturing capacity to boot.
As you know, Deutsche Bank's Barbara Ryan has pointed out a series of possible targets for Pfizer, the latest being Amgen and penultimate being Bristol. Cramer himself recently nominated Allergan. As BNet says, if enough people throw out enough possible deals for Pfizer, eventually someone will be right.