Wyeth shareholders approve mega-merger with Pfizer

Wyeth (WYE) shareholders "have voted overwhelmingly" in favor of selling the company to Pfizer (PFE), according to an AP news item. The $68 billion deal made headlines in January when it was announced amidst terrible conditions in global stock and credit markets. The combined company will be the largest pharmaceutical firm in the world, with sales likely to exceed $70 billion.

Acquiring Wyeth and their stable of drugs is one way Pfizer hopes to deal with losing patent protection on several of its blockbuster drugs. When the deal was announced, Deutsche Bank (DB) analyst Barbara Ryan said that Pfizer faces 14 key patent expirations over five years, with revenues of $35 billion at risk. These include blockbuster cholesterol treatment Lipitor, the world's best selling drug, as well as Viagra.