Pfizer Set to Close Purchase of Rival Wyeth

Has received regulatory approvals from U.S .and Canada

Pfizer said on Oct. 13 it was ready to close its deal to buy pharmaceutical rival Wyeth, boosting the size of the world's biggest drugmaker.

Pfizer, the maker of Viagra for erectile dysfunction and Lipitor for cholesterol, said it would close the transaction on Oct. 14 after getting approval from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and Canadian authorities.

Regulators had required Pfizer to sell certain animal health assets in the U.S. and Canada to Boehringer Ingelheim, as previously announced. The Federal Trade Commission said it would approve the $68 billion deal but require "significant divestitures to preserve competition in multiple US markets for animal pharmaceuticals and vaccines."

The Canadian Competition Bureau also issued a statement approving the merger.

The EU's executive branch -- which enforces EU competition law -- approved the deal earlier this year, also contingent on Pfizer's commitment to divest some of its operations in animal health vaccines, pharmaceuticals and medicinal feed additives in Europe.

Pfizer, already the world's biggest pharmaceutical firm, announced the planned merger in January, seeking diversification as it prepares for the expiration of patents on its blockbuster drugs. Analysts say Pfizer is aiming to widen its revenue stream some of its key drugs face competition from generic manufacturers.

In announcing the deal in January, the New York-based firm said it would be cutting its global workforce by around 10%, eliminating jobs in sales, manufacturing, research and development, and administration. It will also reduce the number of manufacturing sites to 41 from 46.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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