Pfizer has announced that it is reviewing strategic alternatives for its consumer healthcare business, the potential sale of which could reportedly fetch between $10 billion and $15 billion. The possible divestiture of the unit, which makes non-prescription medicines, vitamins and personal products such as Chapstick, would seem to indicate an increased commitment from Pfizer to the prescription drugs space.
In terms of M&A, a sale of Pfizer's consumer healthcare business could be one of the largest pharmaceutical deals in the US of the past 10 years. Here's a rundown of the current five biggest completed mergers in the space since the start of 2008,
according to the PitchBook Platform:
As you can see, Pfizer was on the opposite side of the largest pharma deal of the past decade, when it bought Wyeth, a researcher and developer of new treatments, in 2009. Another interesting note from the data: Massive deals in the space seem to come in clusters. After two in late 2009, no other transaction larger than $15 billion closed until 2014—and then three occurred in the next 11 months.
Are we on the brink of another such flurry in the US pharma space? The recent infrequency of deals would seem to indicate not. So far, 2017 has brought just 34 completed M&A deals in the industry, per PitchBook data, with less than $15 billion in total transaction value. Both those figures are on pace for four-year lows. They also represent a stark difference from 2015, when corporate acquirers completed 78 pharma takeovers worth more than $90 billion in total value.