Wyeth Q2: Ah! So That's Why Pfizer's Buying This Company

Wyeth's Q2 2009 results reveal an interesting statistical criss-cross that goes some way to explaining why Pfizer was keen to buy the company, particularly at this point in time (see chart).

The basics: Wyeth's revenue declined 4 percent to $5.7 billion; net income in the second quarter was $1.27 billion.

But as Wyeth's "productivity initiatives" (ie layoffs) take hold, the company overtook Pfizer in terms of sales and marketing productivity. This quarter, Wyeth got $3.56 in revenues for ever dollar spent on sales reps. Pfizer sunk to $3.28. As you can see on the chart, Wyeth's pink line, which for more than a year has followed Pfizer's blue line, finally superceded its acquirer.

Which raises the question: If Wyeth was dealing with the recession so much better than Pfizer, why does it need Pfizer to rescue it? From Pfizer's perspective, it looks like Wyeth has come to the rescue just in time.