Pfizer execs turned up at J.P. Morgan with a simple message: We’re not done doing deals.
Pfizer CFO Frank D’Amelio said they’re on the lookout for new deals that will grow revenue “now or soon,” but frankly are still interested in early-stage efforts as well.
That might not be surprising, but the pharma giant has been blazing a wide path in the market over the past two years. After failed attempts to pull off a major overhaul with a really big M&A deal like an AstraZeneca or Allergan buyout — derailed by the Obama administration’s backlash against tax inversions — Pfizer shook things up with a $14 billion deal to buy Medivation, which provided a product as well as a late-stage drug candidate.
Now the pharma giant simply has the most fearsome rep in the industry. Pfizer will pay virtually whatever it takes to get a deal it wants done, and that will likely chill any bidder who finds themselves in an auction with the multinational.
As we reported earlier, biopharma valuations have been shooting up over the last few years. But in 2016 overall M&A activity went down, underscoring a reluctance to go after some of these assets while the numbers are so high. Now, with the year getting started with a $5.2 billion deal from Takeda to buy Ariad, everyone is waiting for the next buyout. And Pfizer won’t be the only player in this game, as Gilead, Sanofi, Biogen, Eli Lilly and many other big players are being heatedly pushed into the M&A game by many of the analysts who follow them.
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