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January 17, 2007
Pfizer's making a big announcement next Monday: but what are they announcing? People inside the company don't seem to have a good handle on the details, which means that the people outside it know even less. But here are the most popular guesses, which together add up to the conventional wisdom:
1. Whacking big cuts in the sales force (yes, on top of the whacking big ones already announced). Europe takes it harder than the US. And yes, I'm tempted to add "for once", but that would be petty of me.
2. Less extensive cuts in front-office type jobs, with the pain spread around pretty evenly.
3. Research mostly escapes with absolutely flat budgets (which beats getting cut, for sure). Pfizer's under a pretty general hiring freeze, which might or might not stay in place - depends on if management considers attrition a bug or a feature.
4. If nasty things happen to research, their nastiness will be roughly proportional to the square of the distance from the site(s) in question to Groton, Connecticut. For what it's worth, which probably isn't much, La Jolla (ex-Agouron) and St. Louis (ex-Monsanto) are being mentioned most often on the downside. Michigan? Good question.
I should emphasize that I have no inside track on any of this. I know people inside the company, but they don't know anything specific on what's coming, either. Having been through several rounds of this kind of thing, I can attest to the fact that in most of these situations, the old Wall Street adage holds: those who say don't know, because those who know aren't saying. But, for what it's worth, this is what the Pharma Street thinks will happen. On Monday, we'll check in with reality.
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