WSJ: Abbott kicked tires at Wyeth

Remember the suitor that briefly threatened to disrupt the Pfizer-Wyeth courtship? Well, the Wall Street Journal reports today that Company X is Abbott Laboratories. The company approached Wyeth in mid-December, but decided not to make a bid "amid concerns over price and other issues," the paper reports.

According to Pfizer's SEC filing revealing details about the Wy-Pfi deal, Company X (a.k.a. Abbott) told Wyeth that its top offer could only be a "mid-$40s" price per share. Pfizer ended up making a deal for $50.19 per share.

Besides price, Abbott was worried that a big deal might depress its stock, the WSJ's sources said. Abbott has less cash on hand than Pfizer, which boasts the biggest war chest in pharma. Plus, Abbott's Humira competes with Enbrel, the anti-inflammatory Wyeth sells in partnership with Amgen. The Enbrel partnership agreement has some sticky provisions that take effect if Wyeth sells or distributes a rival product.

Nonetheless, Abbott's interest in Wyeth could mean that it would entertain other big acquisitions. An Abbott spokeswoman told the Health Blog that the company isn't into large acquisitions, however. But she also declined to comment on whether Abbott is/was Company X.

- read the WSJ story
- see the post at the Health Blog