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Pfizer Has Had A Busy M&A Year...Or Has It?

Allergan, Inc. NYSE:AGN, Astrazeneca PLC NYSE:AZN - Pfizer Has Had A Busy M&A Year...Or Has It?

Pfizer Inc. PFE 0.14%'s acquisition of Medivation Inc MDVN 0.01% may have come as a surprise to some, but Pfizer has a long standing history of pursuing large scale M&A deals.

With 2016 more than half over, Pfizer has already dished out $5.2 billion to acquire Anacor and $14 billion this week to acquire Medivation. Pfizer also entered into smaller agreements that may have fallen under the radar, such as a $40 million bid to acquire all of BIND Therapeutics assets under a court-authorized auction.

There were also some setbacks in 2016 for Pfizer's acquisitions plans. The company terminated a merger plan with Allergan plc Ordinary Shares AGN 2.86% earlier this year due to difficulties arising from the tax inversion nature of the deal.

Related Link: 5-Month Timeline: A Look Back At Medivation's Takeover Story

It's impossible to reach a consensus on what constitutes a "large" scale M&A deal, especially for the Dow component. With that said, based on total dollar amount spent, 2016 is proving to be a light year for Pfizer on the M&A front.

A 'Light' Year?

For example, Pfizer spent $111.8 billion to acquire Warner-Lambert in 2000. In 2009, Pfizer spent $68 billion to acquire its rival Wyeth. These are certainly large scale deals but Pfizer's 2015 $15.2 billion acquisition of Hospira is important in terms of what the acquisition adds to Pfizer's business — even if the price tag is a fraction of prior deals.

Pfizer has also aggressively targeted AstraZeneca plc (ADR) AZN 0.81% and was ready to pay around $100 billion for the UK-based company. This proposed deal pales in comparison to the $160 billion deal that was on the table when talks with Allergan began in 2015 but came to an abrupt end in 2016.

Pfizer's investors and followers of the space will have differing opinions if Pfizer's 2016 acquisitions mark a busy year for the company. On the one hand, there were no $100-billion deals but on the other Pfizer's strategy of fueling growth through acquisitions continued throughout the year.

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