Cadwalader wins role on $68bn Pfizer mega-merger

Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft has scored a lead role on US drug manufacturer Pfizer’s $68bn (£49.8bn) acquisition of rival Wyeth, the biggest M&A deal in the world for months.

Corporate partner Dennis Block is taking the lead for longstanding client Pfizer.

The acquisition is the latest in a string of deals Block has handled for the company over the years, including the sale of its Consumer Business to Johnson & Johnson, the acquisition of Vicuron and the acquisition of Pharmacia Corporation.

The drugs business is financing the deal with a mixture of cash and shares and has raised $22.5bn (£16.5bn) to help finance the acquisition.

A US partner not involved in the deal said although there was no doubt it was a significant deal, it was more likely a sign of continuing consolidation in the global pharmaceutical industry than an indication of the returning health of the credit markets.

“It’s good to see that finance is available for a major deal but this is pretty high-quality credit,” said the partner. “It could be a thin leading edge back to a willingness by the banks to lend, but we won’t know that for a while yet. I don’t expect any floodgates to open.”

A team from Simpson Thacher & Bartlett led by global head of M&A Casey Cogut and including corporate partner Eric Swedenburg is advising Wyeth.

Other legal advisers on the deal include Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz as counsel to Wyeth’s directors and Weil Gotshal & Manges as adviser to lender Goldman Sachs Capital Partners.

To receive our free, twice-weekly Lawyer in New York US legal news and comment email, click here. Or get the latest news, features and comment as it’s published with our free RSS feed.