Pfizer: How Big Is Too Big?

It'll take a string of hits to keep this behemoth on top

It's not every day that a company drops $116 billion to buy a rival just to get its hands on a single product. But that's what pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc. did earlier this year when it swallowed Warner-Lambert Co. Pfizer was after Warner's cholesterol-lowering drug, Lipitor, which the two companies were co-marketing. With Lipitor poised to become the world's best-selling medication, and with Warner looking to merge with American Home Products, Pfizer Chairman and Chief Executive William C. Steere Jr. felt there was no time to lose. Steere now says that the deal held many attractions, but "if Warner didn't have Lipitor, we would not have made an unsolicited bid."

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