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Top Headlines April 2012

Amgen Buys Turkish Pharma Company For $700 Million To Target Emerging Markets

Amgen Buys Turkish Pharma Company For $700 Million To Target Emerging Markets

BUSINESS

  • Amgen currently markets two products in Turkey
  • Deal to offer both companies strategic edge in acquiring new markets
  • Turkish market for pharmaceuticals expanding as its economy grows; Turkey third-fastest growing country among Group of 20

The world’s largest biotechnology company Amgen has purchased close to 96% of Turkish Mustafa Nevzat Pharmaceuticals for nearly $700 million as part of its goal to expand into emerging markets.

The deal, which has been approved by both Amgen and MN Pharmaceutical senior management boards, creates a company capable of expanding regionally and attracting new markets. In a statement released to the press, Amgen said the purchase will boost its image in Turkey and is part of a broad international expansion strategy.

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Shell Inks $1.8 Billion Deal for Cove Energy

Shell Inks $1.8 Billion Deal for Cove Energy

BUSINESS

  • Shell acquisition of Cove represents significant opportunity to enter hydrocarbon market in Mozambique and Kenya
  • Vast gas reserves in East Africa could make it a key natural gas industry player
  • Shell to increase East Africa exploration budget by 35% to $5 billion

Royal Dutch Shell has agreed to a $1.8 billion deal for the buyout of gas exploration company Cove Energy as it pushes to gain access to huge gas reserves in East Africa.

Shell’s Exploration and Production subsidiary upped an earlier bid by 10% for the Mozambique-focused natural gas explorer, which recommended that the Anglo-Dutch oil giant match an offer from Thai state-run PTT Exploration and Production.

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Nestle’s Winning $11.9 Billion Bid Buys Pfizer’s Infant Nutrition Unit

Nestle’s Winning $11.9 Billion Bid Buys Pfizer’s Infant Nutrition Unit

BUSINESS

  • Nestle bid beats out Groupe Danone and Mead Johnson Nutrition for Pfizer Infant Nutrition Unit
  • Pfizer’s infant nutrition unit generates 85% of revenue from developing countries
  • Baby food market expected to grow 10% annually through 2016

The world’s largest food company Swiss-based Nestle SA is buying Pfizer’s infant nutrition unit for $11.9 billion, once given the green light from antitrust regulators.

Nestle beat out an $11 billion offer by Groupe Danone, and Mead Johnson Nutrition Co. also bid unsuccessfully. The deal is approximately 19.8 times greater than the unit’s 2012 estimated pretax profit.

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China Mobile Brings 4G To Hong Kong

China Mobile Brings 4G To Hong Kong

BUSINESS

  • China Mobile becomes second 4G operator in Hong Kong alongside Australian company Telstra
  • China Mobile hopes 4G technology will help secure contract to sell Apple iPhone
  • China Mobile posted Q1 2012 net profit up 3.5% over 211

China Mobile has begun its foray into the 4G market with the launch of next-generation high-speed data services in Hong Kong.

China Mobile, which is the world’s largest mobile phone carrier by subscriber base, has also begun testing wireless data technology in mainland China, with hopes pinned on having its service up and running within two years.

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Coca-Cola Keeps Hold On Global Leadership

Coca-Cola Keeps Hold On Global Leadership

BUSINESS

  • Coca-Cola volume up 9% in Russia, India, Middle East, Africa
  • North America remains growth market for Coca-Cola
  • Coca-Cola producing smaller-sized beverage to offset rising costs

Coca-Cola Co is maintaining its leadership in the global soft drink market by growing its global reach to target emerging markets and adding smaller drink sizes to its product offering.

The company reported better-than-expected results for first quarter 2012, recording 8% net profit growth. Volume was also up 9% in Russia, India, the Middle East and Africa. North America was slightly behind, with volume growing 2%. 

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UK Retailer Tesco Spending $1.6 Billon To Revamp Image

UK Retailer Tesco Spending $1.6 Billon To Revamp Image

BUSINESS

  • Tesco holds 30% market share in UK but profit slipping compared to competitors
  • $1.6 billion investment to be used to remodel 430 supermarkets, re-label Value product line, introduce 2,000 new products, and increase products available online
  • Tesco plans to add 20,000 new jobs by 2013

Tesco, Britain’s largest retailer, will spend $1.6 billion revamping stores to win back market share.

Tesco currently holds 30% of the UK retail market but recently has found profit slipping compared to competitors J Sainsbury Plc., William Morrison Supermarkets Plc. and Asda, which is owned by Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

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Ford Focus Electric Not Faring Well in US Auto Market

Ford Focus Electric Not Faring Well in US Auto Market

BUSINESS

  • Focus Electric launched in New York, New Jersey and California; to debut in 19 metropolitan areas before being sold nationwide
  • Ford survey shows customers uneducated on difference between fuel-efficient cars
  • Electric, plug-in hybrid vehicles expected to be only 1% of US vehicle sales through to 2017

US automaker Ford has rolled out its Focus Electric without much fanfare, and it may be paying the price as in the first quarter of 2012 only two dozen vehicles were sold.

So far, the Focus Electric has been launched in New York, New Jersey and California. It will next debut in 19 metropolitan areas before being sold nationwide.

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Online Travel Giants Expedia, TripAdvisor Under Fire For Rating Systems

Online Travel Giants Expedia, TripAdvisor Under Fire For Rating Systems

BUSINESS

  • Expedia to conduct thorough overhaul of rating system 
  • Total number of verified reviews available to Expedia customers to total over 7.5 million
  • TripAdvisor criticized for its instant 1-to-5 rating system

Online travel booking site Expedia is modifying its review system after recent controversial hotel ratings. The driving factor behind this initiative is increased pressure from the hotel industry, which is trying to fight against unfavorable ratings from competitors and sometimes fake or paid-for review writers.

Expedia.com says it will conduct a “thorough overhaul” of its hotel reviews feature. “As part of this overhaul, Expedia will incorporate all verified reviews from its sister company, Hotels.com, into its collection, which will bring the total number of verified reviews available to Expedia customers to total more than 7.5 million,” writes Hotel Online.

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$8 Billion Annually Invested Into US Airport Security Procedures

$8 Billion Annually Invested Into US Airport Security Procedures

WORLD

  • TSA sees 70% failure rate in detecting threats in random tests
  • US Travel Association says 66% of travelers would fly more if security procedures were less intrusive
  • Economist debate concludes US should return airport security to pre-9/11 levels and spend savings on “intelligence, investigation and emergency response”

Currently, the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has an $8 billion annual budget and a 70% failure rate detecting threats related to weapons and bomb components in random tests, according to the Economist magazine.

These findings beg the question of whether the multi-billion dollar airport security measures in the US are doing more harm than good.

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Sony Cuts 10,000 Jobs Worldwide To Reduce Costs

Sony Cuts 10,000 Jobs Worldwide To Reduce Costs

BUSINESS

  • Sony to layoff 6% of global workforce in restructuring
  • Sony saw record annual net loss of $6.4 billion in 2011
  • Sony CEO sets target to increase sales 10% or $105 billion by March 2013

Japanese electronics giant Sony Corp plans to cut 10,000 jobs and restructure the company in an effort to reduce costs and revitalize itself. The layoffs represent 6% of the company’s global workforce.

At a press conference, Chief Executive Officer and President Kazuo Hirai explained a strategy intended to make Sony profitable again. In addition to reducing employees, Sony will spend $1 billion on restructuring.

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