Earnings roundup: Merck tops expectations, steady GSK rises on ViiV IPO talk
- Pharma giants Merck and GlaxoSmithKline announced Q4 2014 earnings on Wednesday (after Gilead unveiled its own big earnings report on Tuesday after trading hours).
- Merck beat expectations with an EPS that fell by just one cent (to 87 cents) year-over-year despite falling operating profit. On the pharmaceutical side, sales of Zetia/Vytorin, Remicade, and Gardasil all fell by about 10% while the vaccine portfolio jumped 34%.
- Glaxo beat expectations by $400 million with $9.9 billion in revenues. The company's HIV drug franchise, in particular, performed strongly, although other pharmaceutical and vaccine sales lagged behind (with Seretide/Advair sales dropping 20%).
GSK's most exciting news (and what's likely propping up its stock price right now) is that the company is considering a partial IPO of its successful HIV arm ViiV Healthcare. In fact, Glaxo's hired Morgan Stanley, Citi, and Goldman Sachs as advisers for the potential IPO.
That shouldn't come as too much of a shock. As The Street points out, ViiV would likely become the largest-ever public offering in pharma history.