- Onlookers are speculating that U.S. pharma giant Pfizer is about to make a large acquisition, or set up a mega-merger. Potential targets include AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, Shire, and Mylan.
- Pfizer, which grossed $212 billion last year, has spent more money on acquisitions than any other drugmaker in the world.
- One of the major goals of any deal Pfizer makes would be to lower the company's corporate tax rate, which is fueling speculation that it will purse a domicile-shifting inversion merger.
Although Pfizer failed to acquire AZ last year in a would-be $120 billion tax-inversion deal, Ian Reid is still hunting. In fact, UK-based AZ is still on the list of potential targets. Pfizer needs an inversion deal to decrease its hefty tax rate, and although the newest legislation regulating tax-inversion deals does decrease some of the benefits associated with this type of deal, there are still remaining benefits.
There are options abound. For example, Dublin-based Shire, which is valued at $52 billion and focuses on various neurolgical treatments, would add a nice synergy to Pfizer's portfolio, while GSK would help diversify Pfizer's vaccines and consumer health portfolios. Analysts predict that Pfizer could easily make one or more major acqusitions this year. Anything is possible.
Pfizer certainly needs a boost, particularly in areas like oncology. BioPharma Dive has proposed that a solid target may actually be a not-so-little American biotech by the name of Celgene—although this would not give Pfizer the tax advantage that it's seeking.