John Stafford: American Home Still Wants To Cohabit

That's strike two for American Home Products Chairman John Stafford. On Oct. 13, American Home and Monsanto called off their planned $35 billion merger. The move comes less than a year after AHP's deal fell apart with SmithKline Beecham. In a terse joint statement, AHP and Monsanto said the deal was "not in the best interest of their respective stockholders."

Contrasting styles probably played a role as well. Stafford, 60, exercises tight financial controls while Monsanto Chairman Robert Shapiro has been spending big to build up the company's biotech agriculture and pharmaceutical businesses. "Monsanto and American Home are [at] opposite ends of the spectrum," says J.P. Morgan Securities analyst Carl Seiden.

Will Stafford try again? There's talk in the industry that SmithKline chief Jan Leschly may be preparing to exit, which could lead to new talks between SmithKline and AHP. A SmithKline spokesman says Leschly has no plans to resign. But others are also looking for deals. DuPont, for one, wants to build up its pharmaceuticals business.

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