Pfizer (PFE) shares a similar plight. Like Merck, the firm took the consolidation route to reduce patent exposure risks, buying Wyeth to expand its drug pipeline and add some marketable offerings to its stable. That should take away some of the sting from the recent loss of Lipitor from patent protection.
Another benefit of the Wyeth acquisition comes a few lines lower on Pfizer's income statement: its costs. The combined firm is expected to realize significant cost savings by operating under a single umbrella. A more cost-effective model will be crucial as PFE navigates this environment. With an impressive balance sheet (Pfizer's hoard of cash effectively makes the firm debt-neutral) and good prospects in its pipeline, there's still reason not to skirt this stock.A 3.97% yield is just another one of those reasons. Pfizer, one of Maverick Capital's holdings, shows up on a list of the 10 Most Popular Hedge Fund Stock Picks for the most recently reported quarter. Follow @stockpickr