Pharmaceutical giants Novartis and GlaxoSmithKline have agreed to exchange assets and combine their consumer healthcare units.
Novartis will acquire GSK’s oncology drugs business for $16 billion and sell its vaccines division, excluding the flu unit, to GSK for $7.1 billion.
In a separate deal, Novartis has agreed to sell its animal health division to Lilly for nearly $5.4 billion.
Novartis said the moves would help the company focus on its key businesses.
Novartis will acquire GSK’s oncology drugs business for $16 billion and sell its vaccines division, excluding the flu unit, to GSK for $7.1 billion
“The transactions mark a transformational moment for Novartis,” Novartis CEO Joseph Jimenez said in a statement.
“They also improve our financial strength, and are expected to add to our growth rates and margins immediately.”
The deals are a part of Novartis’s review of its business as it continues to face sluggish growth.
Novartis and GSK said that combining their over-the-counter (OTC) units would help boost the fortunes of both the companies.
The combined unit will have annual revenues of more than $10 billion.
“Opportunities to build greater scale and combine high quality assets in vaccines and consumer healthcare are scarce,” GSK CEO Andrew Witty said in a statement.
“With this transaction, we will substantially strengthen two of our core businesses and create significant new options to increase value for shareholders.”
Glaxo shareholders will get a $6.5 billion capital return from the deal proceeds, the company said.
Vodafone has confirmed it is in talks with Verizon Communications over the sale of its 45% stake in their joint venture, Verizon Wireless.
Reports earlier this year suggested that Verizon was looking to buy Vodafone’s stake in Verizon Wireless for about $100 billion.
However, there has also been speculation that the stake is worth more than this.
Shares in Vodafone jumped 8% following the company’s announcement.
Vodafone is in talks with Verizon Communications over the sale of its 45 percent stake in Verizon Wireless
Vodafone said in a statement: “Vodafone notes the recent press speculation and confirms that it is in discussions with Verizon Communications Inc. regarding the possible disposal of Vodafone’s US group whose principal asset is its 45% interest in Verizon Wireless.
“There is no certainty that an agreement will be reached.”
Verizon Wireless is the largest and most profitable phone operator in the US, with 100 million customers.
The deal would be one of the largest corporate transactions of all time if it goes through, and would provide a large cash injection for the UK telecoms company, but would leave Vodafone without a highly profitable non-European partnership.
Verizon has been looking to buy out Vodafone’s stake in Verizon Wireless for some years, however, price has been a consistent hurdle.
Publisher Pearson announces agreement with German media group Bertelsmann to combine their Penguin and Random House businesses.
Under the terms of the deal, the two businesses will be run in a joint venture called Penguin Random House.
Bertelsmann will own 53% of the joint venture while Pearson will own 47%.
The two firms said last week that they were discussing a deal. A report at the weekend also said News Corporation was planning a bid for Penguin.
The Sunday Times reported that News Corp – which owns publisher HarperCollins – was prepared to make a “substantial cash offer” for Penguin, expected to be about $1.5 billion.
The tie-up between Penguin and Random House marks the first deal between the world’s big six publishers.
Publisher Pearson announces agreement with media group Bertelsmann to combine their Penguin and Random House businesses
When news of the talks emerged last week, industry observers said that such deals were inevitable as firms sought to adapt to the changing publishing landscape.
The rapid take-up of e-books means publishers are now attempting to bolster their negotiating strength. most notably with Amazon.
Pearson chief executive Marjorie Scardino, who is leaving the firm at the end of the year, said: “Penguin is a successful, highly-respected and much-loved part of Pearson. This combination with Random House… will greatly enhance its fortunes and its opportunities.
“Together, the two publishers will be able to share a large part of their costs, to invest more for their author and reader constituencies and to be more adventurous in trying new models in this exciting, fast-moving world of digital books and digital readers.”
Based on recent results, combining the two firms will create a business with annual revenues of about $3.8 billion.
In 2011, Random House’s revenues were 1.7 billion euros with an operating profit of 185 million euros. Meanwhile, Penguin recorded revenues of $1.5 billion and a $170 million operating profit.
The joint venture is subject to regulatory approval, but the two firms hope the deal will be completed in the second half of 2013.
BlueScope and Nippon Steel, Australia and Japan’s biggest steelmakers, have announced a $1.4 billion joint venture in a bid to capture greater market share.
Australian firm BlueScope has agreed to sell 50% of its South East Asian and North American building products business to Nippon for $540 million in cash.
The proceeds are expected to help ease BlueScope’s debt burden.
BlueScope shares rose as much as 50% in Australia after the deal was announced.
BlueScope and Nippon Steel have announced a $1.4 billion joint venture in a bid to capture greater market share
“The proceeds received from Nippon Steel Corporation will afford BlueScope further financial flexibility and balance sheet strength to continue to grow businesses delivering strong returns,” Paul O’Malley, managing director of BlueScope said in a statement.
BlueScope has been going through a rough patch in recent times.
One of the key reasons has been the rising Australian dollar. The Australian currency has strengthened almost 11% against the US dollar since October last year.
A strong currency has made its products more expensive for foreign buyers.
At the same time, it has also made imported steel much cheaper, which has impacted domestic demand.
As a result, BlueScope has mostly stopped its exports from Australia, shut down a blast furnace and announced production and job cuts over the past year.
The firm said that it expected to report an annual loss of almost one billion Australian dollars ($1.05 billion) for the financial year ending 30 June 2012.
However, it said the deal with Nippon Steel was likely to help it to turn things around.
“This is a significant new platform to enhance our growth opportunities in some of the fastest growing markets in the world,” said Paul O’Malley.