May 22, 2013

$PFE, $MRK: When you can't drive top line, continue to financially engineer the bottom line

May 22, 2013: "Pfizer said that selling the rest of Zoetis will boost earnings starting in 2014...In April 2012 Pfizer sold its infant nutrition business to Nestle SA for $11.9 billion. The drugmaker has said it plans to use cash from asset sales to aggressively buy back its shares. Last month Pfizer said it had repurchased $6.3 billion of stock this year and was authorized to spend another $5.5 billion on buybacks."

May 22, 2013: "Under the accelerated share repurchase agreement (ASR), Merck has agreed to repurchase about 99.5 million shares from Goldman Sachs based on current market prices. "We don't have consensus share count post-Q1 earnings to quantify the impact of the accelerated repurchase, but we believe this is a positive sign of Merck attempting to create shareholder value," ISI Group analyst Mark Schoenebaum said in a note to clients. Merck's board had authorized additional purchases of up to $15 billion of its common stock and said that it would buy back about $7.5 billion over the next 12 months. Sales of Merck's asthma drug Singulair plunged 75 percent to $337 million in the first quarter. The pill was Merck's biggest product, with annual sales of $6 billion, before cheaper generics flooded the U.S. market last August. More pain from generics is in store. Merck's Maxalt migraine drug recently lost patent protection and its Temodar brain cancer medicine will soon face cheaper copycats."

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