Tuesday, June 20, 2000

Drug companies get clear shot at merger

The Associated Press

        WASHINGTON — The Federal Trade Commission on Monday cleared the way for a $90 billion merger between drug manufacturing giants Pfizer Inc. and Warner-Lambert Co. that is expected to make the new Pfizer the largest pharmaceutical company in the world.

        “This is a defining moment for Pfizer,” said William C. Steere Jr., Pfizer chairman and chief executive officer. “Combining the two fastest-growing companies in the industry creates a global leader in the discovery of health and consumer products that will benefit millions around the world.”

        The merger leaves the combined company dominating many U.S. medicine cabinets. Together, they hold many of the world's best-known brands, including Halls, Benadryl, Sudafed, Listerine, Schick, Visine and Cortizone.

        Procter & Gamble proposed a three-way merger with Warner-Lambert and American Home Products in January. The deal was thwarted by P&G stockholders responding to the possible deal.

        The FTC agreed to the Pfizer and Warner-Lambert deal after the companies consented to divest themselves of some businesses that federal regulators thought might otherwise constitute a monopoly.

        Pfizer, which makes the male impotence drug Viagra, and Warner-Lambert, which manufactures the cholesterol drug Lipitor, first announced they intended to merge Feb. 6.

        The commission voted unanimously in favor of the proposed consent agreement but the commissioners will accept public comment until July 19. The agency is expected to make the agreement final sometime after that.


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- Drug companies get clear shot at merger