June 15th, 2007


A word or two on rumors and speculation.

Johnson & Johnson is well-known for its aggressive acquisition strategy, and as such, there are often rumors circulating about whether we are going to make a bid for company X, or do a deal with company Y.

When asked about these rumors, I almost always have nothing to say. We just don’t comment on rumors and speculation. Period.

Reporters often ask if we could just signal them “off the record” as to whether there is any truth to the rumor. On the record or off, our answer remains the same. If I were to whisper to a reporter that there’s nothing to what they are hearing, what happens the next time they call and don’t receive the same whisper? If we are in talks regarding an acquisition, such discussions are kept confidential for good reason. A deal is not a deal until it is signed, sealed and delivered.

After declining to comment on an acquisition rumor, I’m often asked if I would simply talk about our acquisition philosophy in general — what types of companies or technologies Johnson & Johnson would like to acquire.

Again, in the context of a question about a specific rumor, how can I discuss our acquisition philosophy and strategy without seemingly tipping our hand or fueling speculation?

The reality is that with such a broad portfolio of businesses, our business development teams cast a wide net.

My understanding is that they are always on the look out for companies, products or emerging technologies that will complement our existing franchises or further our strategy for growing the business.

One Response to “Speculating”

  1. Tom Keefe says

    Congratulations on launching the blog.

    I laughed when you recounted the questioning you get from reporters. I used many of those same tactics when I was a reporter years ago. I was only doing my job–trying to find a way to confirm information that the source didn’t want to (or legally couldn’t) confirm.

    You are doing your job, as well. It’s the dance that reporters and potential sources have “enjoyed” for a long time.

    Social media like this blog have increased the speed of information dissemination, and removed some barriers between the author and the reader. That means new opportunities, along with new potential pitfalls. I hope that you are very successful in balancing the two.

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