US drug manufacturer Pfizer is to acquire rival Wyeth for $68bn, making it the largest pharmaceutical takeover deal in nearly a decade.

The acquisition will be financed through a combination of cash, debt and stock, and a consortium of banks has agreed to provide a total of $22.5bn to finance it.

The boards of directors of both companies have approved the merger.

Wyeth employs more than 3,000 people in Ireland, while Pfizer employs more than 2,000.

Paul Duffy, Pfizer's head of manufacturing in Ireland, told RTÉ Radio's Drivetime it was too early to say what his company's takeover of Wyeth would mean for Irish jobs.

Mr Duffy was today named the new president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Ireland.