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Business News - part 41

US Telecom Giant Verizon Buys Out Vodafone To Take Full Ownership Of Wireless Unit

US Telecom Giant Verizon Buys Out Vodafone To Take Full Ownership Of Wireless Unit

BUSINESS

  • Verizon pays Vodafone $130 billion to take full control of the wireless business unit jointly owned by the two companies
  • Ownership of wireless unit to provide Verizon with more profit to better compete with rivals, build new mobile networks
  • Vodafone to use deal proceeds to pay down debt and finance high-speed services

Verizon Communications, the largest US mobile service provider, has bought out partner British telecommunications giant Vodafone for $130 billion to take full control of the wireless business unit jointly owned by the two companies.

Full ownership will give Verizon the unit’s entire profits, allowing it to better compete with rivals and build new mobile networks. The deal comes at a time when the American market is shrinking. During the second quarter, the growth rate dropped to 2.2%.

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Japanese Drink Maker Suntory Buys GlaxoSmithKline Drink Brands For $2.1 Billion

Japanese Drink Maker Suntory Buys GlaxoSmithKline Drink Brands For $2.1 Billion

BUSINESS

  • Suntory buys Lucozade and Ribena drink brands to expand in new markets
  • Suntory expects brands to have 5% annual sales growth
  • GSK to focus on consumer healthcare

Suntory Beverage & Food Ltd, Japan's second-largest drinks manufacturer by sales, is purchasing iconic drink brands Lucozade and Ribena from GlaxoSmithKline Plc for $2.1 billion as part of the company’s long-term plan to expand beyond domestic markets.

Suntory will acquire global rights to energy drink Lucozade and Ribena juice brands plus a Coleford, UK, manufacturing site. Both brands are more than 70 years old, and will give Suntory a foothold in Britain, the second-largest European beverage market, as well as other markets GSK serves.

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Lego Now Second-Largest Toy Manufacturer In The World

Lego Now Second-Largest Toy Manufacturer In The World

BUSINESS

  • Lego reports 13% sales increase for first half of 2013
  • Lego sales up 35% in Asia
  • Lego to focus more on Asia in 2014

Danish toy maker Lego has reported a 13% sales increase, or $1.8 billion, for the first half of 2013, securing its place as the second-leading international toy marker over US-based Hasbro Inc.

The sales increase was driven by demand in Asia, which helped the company bypass the challenges plaguing US rivals. However, modest US sales results tempered the company's overall growth compared to 2012 results, when Lego attained an increase of 24% from January to June.

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US Reports Impressive Automotive Sales Boom In August

US Reports Impressive Automotive Sales Boom In August

BUSINESS

  • US automotive sales for August grew 17% over 2012 figures
  • Highest sales gains were for small cars, pickups
  • Among top selling brands, Honda increased 27%, Toyota 23% and Nissan 22%

The automotive industry in the US, the world's second-biggest car market, posted a 17% increase in August compared to 2012, marking the strongest growth since November 2007. 

In August, new car sales totaled 1.5 million, and are on pace to reach 15.8 million by the end of the year.  

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World Economic Forum Ranks Switzerland As World’s Most Competitive Economy For 5th Year Running

World Economic Forum Ranks Switzerland As World’s Most Competitive Economy For 5th Year Running

BUSINESS

  • Switzerland takes top spot thanks to quality of its innovation, public institutions and labor market
  • Singapore, Finland maintain second and third place rankings; Germany and US rising up on list
  • Emerging markets little changed since 2012; Indonesia most improved nation, rising from 50 up to 38

Switzerland is the world’s most competitive economy for the fifth year in a row, says the World Economic Forum’s annual Global Competitiveness Report. Switzerland ranked in the top spot for its high standards in innovation, public institutions and labor market, among other factors.

The top 10 nations in the report are the same as last year, but the order has changed, with Singapore and Finland maintaining their second and third place rankings, as in 2012.

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Microsoft Buys Nokia Phone Business For Over $7 Billion

Microsoft Buys Nokia Phone Business For Over $7 Billion

BUSINESS

  • Nokia phone business to give Microsoft more tools to compete with rivals
  • Nokia unit expected to be profitable in 2016
  • Nokia current mobile phone market share at 15% and 3% for smartphones

Microsoft is buying Nokia Oyj’s handset business for $7.17 billion so it can better compete with rivals Google and Apple in the mobile phone market.

The deal, the second largest for a wireless device manufacturer, includes licenses, patents and feature phone models. The licenses for low-end phones will be valid for 10 years. Approximately 32,000 Nokia employees will transfer to Microsoft.

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Report: PC Shipments Dropping Faster Than Expected

Report: PC Shipments Dropping Faster Than Expected

BUSINESS

  • PC shipments to fall 9.7% in 2013 compared to last year
  • Tablet shipments revised down by 1%
  • Sales in emerging markets, especially China, also dropping

After a recent downward revision, PC shipments are now forecast to fall 9.7% to total 315.4 million units this year compared to 2012, according to data from market research company IDC. In May, IDC had forecast a 7.8% drop.

PC shipments – including laptops, desktops and netbooks – are expected to drop until 2017, and it is predicted that PCs will never regain their 2011 shipment levels, IDC says.

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Chinese Oil Producer Sinopec Buys Stake In Apache Egyptian Oil Field

Chinese Oil Producer Sinopec Buys Stake In Apache Egyptian Oil Field

BUSINESS

  • Sinopec pays $3.1 billion to purchase US-based Apache Corporation's Egyptian oil and gas operations
  • Deal marks largest Middle Eastern acquisition for Sinopec
  • More Chinese oil firms tapping into global energy reserves to meet rising demand for energy resources

Sinopec, or China Petrochemical Corporation, has purchased a 33% stake in US-based Apache Corporation's oil and gas operations in Egypt for $3.1 billion.

This purchase should boost annual energy output by around 9% for Sinopec, which is China's second-largest oil producer and Asia's biggest oil refiner. It also signifies the company’s first steps toward a global partnership to carry out oil and gas projects. The deal with Apache is the most recent in a string of similar transactions by oil firms in China seeking to gather enough global energy reserves to satisfy increasing national demand.

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Luxury Jewelry Leader Tiffany Posts Profit Increase in Second Quarter

Luxury Jewelry Leader Tiffany Posts Profit Increase in Second Quarter

BUSINESS

  • Tiffany benefits from lower cost of commodities, price increases
  • Sales in Americas flat
  • Growth led by Chinese market

Tiffany & Co., the world’s second-largest luxury jewelry retailer, posted at 16% increase in profit during the second quarter thanks to price increases and strong Asian sales. Global sales increased 4.4% to $925.9 million, below analyst stimates, and net income grew to $106.8 million. If it were not for the strong U.S. dollar, sales growth would have been 8%.

During the second quarter, the price of commodities fell, widening the gross margin for the first time in two years.

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Biotech Giant Amgen Buys Onyx Pharmaceuticals To Expand In Cancer-Drug Market

Biotech Giant Amgen Buys Onyx Pharmaceuticals To Expand In Cancer-Drug Market

BUSINESS

  • Amgen pays $10.4 billion for Onyx Pharmaceuticals to target growing cancer-drug market
  • Amgen reports sales decline for its anemia drugs Aranesp, Epogen
  • Amgen to gain access to Onyx’s new drugs

The world’s largest biotechnology company Amgen Inc is purchasing Onyx Pharmaceuticals for $10.4 billion to get access to the growing cancer-drug market. The deal is Amgen's largest since 2001, and the third-largest biotechnology industry deal in the past three years.

The oncology market is growing rapidly, but the majority of Amgen’s current products are used to treat the effects of chemotherapy, such as anemia and lower white blood cells, while Onyx’s drugs treat cancer. Current cancer treatments have limited effectiveness, and pharmaceutical companies can charge high prices for new drugs.

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