In the largest corporate buy so far this year, the world’s number one drugs company Pfizer is acquiring rival Pharmacia in a $60 billion (€60bn; £39bn) stock deal.

The purchase further strengthens Pfizer, making it the biggest drugs firm by revenue in all the world’s major markets. The pharmaceutical giant also gains arthritis treatment Celebrex, the globe’s seventh biggest medicine, which it already co-markets with Pharmacia.

Under the deal, Pfizer will swap 1.4 of its shares for each Pharmacia share, valuing the latter at $45.08, a 36% premium. The resulting company will be 77%-owned by Pfizer shareholders, with the remainder in the hands of Pharmacia investors.

The merger is scheduled for completion by the end of 2002. It still requires regulatory approval, though major hurdles are not anticipated as the two firms have few competing products and Pfizer’s share of global drugs sales will increase to only around 11% from the current 8%.

Data sourced from: Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff