Pfizer is the world's largest pharmaceutical company and it has announced plans to buy another large drugmaker, Wyeth. It's paying $68 billion to scoop up its rival. Drugmakers have been consolidating to try to reduce costs and expand their offerings. The patents on many lucrative drugs are set to expire over the next few years. That includes Pfizer's cholesterol fighting pill, Lipitor, and Viagra. A merger would allow Pfizer to acquire Wyeth's top selling childhood vaccine, and a popular rheumatoid arthritis treatment.
Along with the merger agreement, Pfizer also said it's slashing more than 8,000 jobs.That's one of several major layoff announcements made Monday. Heavy machine maker Caterpillar says it's cutting another 5,000 jobs in the next three months as part of a plan to reduce its workforce by 20,000 people. Home Depot is cutting 7,000 jobs. And, wireless phone company Sprint said it's axing 8,000 jobs — or 14 percent of its workforce.