Wyeth CEO in line for $53M handshake

We can't decide which bit of Wy-Pfi news is more interesting today: The fact that Wyeth chief Bernard Poussot (photo) won't get the $10 million change-in-control bonus we previously reported, but ... (drum roll, please) ... $53 million. Or the fact that some unidentified bidding company might have scotched the deal back in December.

First, the bonus: Pfizer filed an SEC document detailing its merger negotiations with Wyeth on Friday, and buried in that pages-long document is Poussot's golden handshake. Named CEO last year, Poussot would get an exit package of $24.3 million if he leaves within three years of closing, plus $28.8 million in cash for stock, options and incentives. (If he stays, he still gets a cool $18 million.) By all reports, Poussot will be departing the combined company, so voilà. Major payday!

Second, the mysterious rival bidder. The SEC filing calls it "Company X," and it swooped in after some six months of negotiations between Wyeth and Pfizer. In mid-December, the mystery firm contacted Morgan Stanley to see whether it might get into the bidding, and CEO Mystery Man met with Poussot about a deal a couple days later. But by Christmas, the rival had decided to bow out.

- get more from the Associated Press
- see the Wall Street Journal Health Blog's post