Days after getting European approval for its merger with Wyeth, Pfizer is rumoured to be hitting the acquisition trail again, all the way to Turkey.

Reuters has reported that the New York-based giant could be planning a bid for Turkey’s largest drugmaker, Abdi Ibrahim. The news agency quotes “an M&A banking source”, but then goes on to say “there are no talks so far and what form a potential tie-up would take is not yet known”.

Very much a rumour then, but the logic behind such a deal would be clear. Pfizer has repeatedly declared its determination to grow in the emerging markets, saying it wants to boost revenues in those regions by $3 billion over the next three years.

Abdi Ibrahim could help Pfizer achieve that goal as the family-run concern has annual sales of around $850 million. Established in 1912, the Istanbul-based group already has licensing deals in place with Pfizer, as well as with a number of other drugmakers, including Otsuka Pharmaceuticals, Nycomed and Orion Pharma.

Wyeth shareholders back merger
The rumours emerged just before Wyeth noted that shareholders voted by over 98% to approve the $68 billion merger with Pfizer. Speaking at the firm’s annual meeting, chief executive Bernard Poussot said that the merger “is in the best interests of our company and our stockholders” as the combination will see “opportunities for increased scale where needed and resources to become the world’s premier biopharmaceutical company”.

Mr Poussot, who will leave the company after the deal is completed, did admit "mixed feelings" and "sadness to see the company disappear as we know it today". However he added that “we’re very pleased that eight members of Wyeth’s senior management team will assume significant leadership roles in R&D and commercial operations in the combined organisation.”

On Friday, regulators in Europe cleared the merger, saying that in “the light of the commitments offered by Pfizer, the [European] Commission has now concluded that the proposed transaction would not significantly impede effective competition” in the continent. Pfizer has said it will divest certain animal health assets to satisfy the authorities.

The deal has yet to be approved by antitrust regulators in the USA and Pfizer also revealed that China’s Ministry of Commerce has extend its review of the transaction beyond the initial thirty-day period.