Pfizer Promises EU Changes To Wyeth Bid

BRUSSELS (AP) -- U.S. drug maker Pfizer Inc. has promised to make changes to its takeover of rival Wyeth in order to win European Union regulatory approval for the deal, the EU's executive said Tuesday.

The European Commission gave no details of any potential selloffs or commitments put forward, merely saying it would extend a deadline to rule on the deal until July 20 to look at changes that aim at soothing antitrust concerns.

New York-based Pfizer, the world's largest pharmaceutical company, launched the $68 billion takeover of Wyeth, of Madison, New Jersey in January. The value of the deal has since declined with Pfizer's share price.

The acquisition is fueled by Pfizer's need to address an expected revenue crash in 2011 when the world's top-selling drug, its cholesterol fighter Lipitor, loses patent protection.

By buying Wyeth, Pfizer expects to mutate from a maker of blockbuster pills, including Lipitor, impotence pill Viagra and antidepressant Zoloft, to a one-stop shop for vaccines, biotech drugs, traditional pills, nonprescription products and veterinary medicines.

Wyeth makes the world's top-selling vaccine, Prevnar for meningitis and other pneumococcal diseases, plus blockbuster antidepressant Effexor. It is the world's 12th-largest drug maker by sales.

Under EU law, European antitrust regulators look at all takeover deals where both companies have an annual turnover of at least euro5 billion worldwide combined and more than euro250 million each in the 27-nation bloc.