Feb 4 (Reuters) - Pfizer’s (PFE.N) deal last week to buy Wyeth WYE.N for $68 billion has fuelled speculation among analysts and bankers of a coming wave of consolidation in the pharmaceuticals sector.
Yet many of the industry’s top executives appear wary. The following are a selection of recent comments by heads of leading drugmakers:
SEVERIN SCHWAN, CEO OF ROCHE ROG.VX - FEB 4
On whether the Pfizer-Wyeth deal will herald a new wave of consolidation: “It is difficult to predict, very difficult to predict.
“Our buys are very, very targeted and we are not interested in mega-mergers ... We want to continue with smaller and medium-sized acquisitions. It is also part of our strategy that we have enough liquidity and means to do such transactions.”
Roche is currently seeking to buy out the rest of U.S. biotech partner Genentech DNA.N. [ID:nL4508025]
RICHARD CLARK, CEO OF MERCK & CO (MRK.N) - FEB 3
“Concerning large-scale transactions, I wouldn’t rule anything out. I don’t think in today’s world any CEO can categorically rule out any type of transaction. There are opportunities across the whole spectrum that we look at.”
DANIEL VASELLA, CEO OF NOVARTIS NOVN.VX - JAN 30 “Factors for consolidation are that the industry is fragmented, that there is margin pressure and that some companies don’t have a great pipeline.
“Against it is that you have to finance it — get the money — and you have to be able to create additional value.
“You also have to ask if this (Pfizer-Wyeth) is a relevant transaction for us? And I think for most companies it’s not. Therefore I’m not so sure this is a trigger.”
DAVID BRENNAN, CEO OF ASTRAZENECA (AZN.L) - JAN 29 “We’ve shown we don’t definitely need a merger or a significant acquisition type of an event to cut costs or realise efficiencies.”
JOHN LECHLEITER, CEO OF ELI LILLY (LLY.N) - JAN 29
“We have the wherewithal still to consider small to mid-cap kinds of acquisitions — and I think you can expect us to be very thoughtful here.”
Two of the world’s biggest drugmakers have yet to comment on the Pfizer move:
ANDREW WITTY, CEO OF GLAXOSMITHKLINE (GSK.L)
Expected to comment when the British-based group reports results on Thursday. Witty already said four weeks ago that he did not see large deals as a solution. [ID:nL885191]
CHRIS VIEHBACHER, CEO OF SANOFI-AVENTIS (SASY.PA)
Will set out his strategy with results on Feb. 11. He has made clear he expects acquisitions to play a role but analysts say he may not be ready to clinch a mega-deal.
Previous ANALYSIS stories: * Sanofi seen chasing mid-sized acquisitions [ID:nL3111548] * Hard times mean hard-nosed M&A for cash-rich [ID:nLU769701] * Pfizer-Wyeth deal fails to create spark [ID:nN29267390] * New job cuts, consolidation in drug sector [ID:nN26387260] (Reporting by Ben Hirschler; editing by Simon Jessop)