Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Bristol-Myers Squibb

The board of directors of Bristol-Myers Squibb, (NYSE: BMY) the New York based drug maker, has authorized the repurchase of $3 billion of its common stock. The decisioin reflects a cash-healthy balance sheet.

Also, at Bristol-Myers' annual meeting yesterday, two dissident shareholder proposals were soundly defeated.

Also Tuesday, stockholders at Bristol-Myers' annual meeting overwhelmingly rejected a couple of shareholder proposals. A total of 90 percent voted against a proposal that would require the company to identify, in any future proxy statements, every executive whose compensation exceeds $500,000 a year. A total of 75 percent voted against a proposal that would require Bristol-Myers to increase its public reporting on its use of animals in research and product testing, as well as on its efforts and future goals toward eliminating use of research animals.

There wasn't much market movement on any of this news, presumably because the rest of the market was taking such a beating yesterday that even a slight rise (which BMY did manage) constitutes an accomplishment.

BMY, or its precursor firms, have an impressive history, dating back to 1858, when Edward Robinson Squibb (1819-1900) started his own pharmaceutical laboratory in Brooklyn, New York. During the US civil war, Squibb invented the pannier -- a compact wooden chest that battlefield medics could use for easily carrying around the medicines used to treat casulaties.

Separately, William Bristol and John Myers formed a company in Clinton, New York in 1887.

Those two companies merged in 1989.

In 2002, BMY was involved in an accounting scandal. They were apparently "channel stuffing" and had to restate their results three years back. They agreed to pay $150 million to settle the matter, while neither admitting nor denying guilt.


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