Amgen to acquire Onyx for $10.4B. Amgen (AMGN) has agreed to pay $10.4B to acquire Onyx Pharmaceuticals (ONXX) after raising its offer to $125 a share from a June bid of $120. The latter closed at $116.96 on Friday. By buying Onyx, Amgen is gaining full rights to Kyprolis, a potential blockbuster treatment for multiple myeloma, as well as revenues from other drugs. The deal comes as safety fears have hit sales of Amgen's flagship anemia drugs, Aranesp and Epogen, and ahead of a patent cliff starting in 2015.
Microsoft board felt Ballmer should leave sooner. Steve Ballmer's departure announcement was "neither planned nor as smooth as portrayed," AllThingsD reports. The timing of Ballmer's exit from Microsoft (MSFT) was "moved up drastically — first by him and then the nine-member board, including...Bill Gates — after all agreed that it was best if he left sooner than later." The lack of thanks to Gates in Ballmer's departure memo has got tongues wagging about a weakening of Gates' once iron support for the outgoing CEO.
Top Stock News
Stock exchanges in merger talks. BATS Global Markets is reportedly in advanced negotiations to merge with Direct Edge Holdings in an all-stock deal that would create the second-largest exchange operator in the U.S. in terms of shares traded, putting it behind the NYSE (NYX) but ahead of Nasdaq (NDAQ). BATS CEO Joseph Ratterman is expected to become the head of the new firm, while Direct Edge boss William O'Brien would become president.
Wal-Mart holds back in India amid probe. Wal-Mart (WMT) has "stopped expanding" in India despite the retailer and its joint venture partner Bharti Enterprises starting to do "reasonably well," a retail analyst tells the FT. The move comes as the Indian government examines whether Wal-Mart's $100M convertible debenture investment in Cedar Support Services, the parent of Bharti Retail, amounts to an illegal foreign direct investment in supermarkets.
Anadarko to sell Mozambique gas field for $2.64B. Anadarko (APC) has agreed to sell a 10% stake in an offshore Mozambique gas field to India's Oil & Natural Gas Corp. for $2.64B. Anadarko will remain the operator of the field, called Area 1, with a working interest of 26.5%.
America Movil to support KPN sale of German mobile unit. America Movil (AMX, AMOV), which owns almost 30% in KPN (OTCPK:KKPNY) and is looking to acquire the rest, will support the latter's sale of its German mobile unit E-Plus to Telefonica Deutschland (TEF) after the Spanish-owned telecom operator improved the deal terms. KPN will now receive 20.5% in Telefonica Deutschland rather than 17.6%, as originally planned, raising the value of the transaction to €8.55B ($11.4B) from €8.1B.
ING to sell South Korean insurance unit for $1.65B. ING (ING) has agreed to sell its South Korean insurance unit to private-equity firm MBK Partners for 1.84T won ($1.65B). ING will retain an indirect stake of 10% in ING Life Korea for around €80M. The Dutch bank expects the deal to result in an after-tax loss of approximately €950M. The transaction is the latest in a series of global asset sales by ING as it fulfills the requirements of a state bailout it received during the financial crisis.
Top Economic & Other News
EM turmoil not major concern for Fed officials in tapering. Fed policy makers have rejected calls to take the recent turmoil in emerging markets into account when deciding on when and how to reduce the bank's QE program. The fallout from the prospective tapering was a hot topic of discussion at the Fed's Jackson Hole annual get together over the weekend. "We only have a mandate to concern ourselves with the interest of the United States," said Dennis Lockhart said, whose remarks were echoed by James Bullard.
China talks up economy. China's economy is on course to meet the government's 2013 growth aim of 7.5%, the state statistics bureau has said, with "signs of growth stabilization" becoming "more obvious." In a press briefing that may have been called to try to allay global fears about China's slowdown, the bureau also said that local government debt - a topic of increasing concern - remains under control. The remarks helped boost shares (FXI), which rose 1.9%.
Berlusconi's party again threatens government. Members of Silvio Berlusconi's center-right PDL party have again threatened to bring down Italy's ruling coalition, of which the group is a member, if the country's Senate votes to expel the former prime minister following his conviction for tax fraud. A vote is due next month. The political uncertainty has hit Italian stocks (EWI), which were -1.8% at midday in Europe.
Gold breaks $1,400 before falling back. Gold futures broke through $1,400 earlier, climbing to as high as $1,405.70 an ounce after weak U.S. housing data last week softened expectations about the Fed's prospective tapering. However, bullion has since pulled back and was -0.1% at $1,395 at the time of writing. The metal has been on a remarkable run since dropping to almost $1,200 an ounce in June, and is now approaching bull-market territory, which is defined as a rise of 20%.
Argentina remains defiant following setback over payment. Argentina intends to continue paying bondholders on the same terms as it has been doing until now, Economy Minister Hernan Lorenzino has said. Lorenzino was speaking in response to a U.S. appeals court decision to confirm a judge's order that Argentina repay $1.33B of debt in full to investors who refused to accept a haircut following the country's $100B default in 2001. The verdict won't be implemented until the U.S. Supreme Court decides whether or not to take on the case.
Greece needs €10B in extra aid - Stournaras. Greece could require another €10B in support from the Troika, although the country doesn't expect that any loan would come with even more conditions, Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras has said. The aid, which would fill a 2014-2015 funding gap, would not be a bailout, but rather an "economic support package," says Stournaras. "Other (austerity) measures or targets cannot be required." So he can dream.
Alpha-Rich Stock Movers and Great Calls
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Alpha-Rich Stocks To Watch
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In Asia, Japan -0.2% to 13636. Hong Kong +0.7% to 22005. China +1.9% to 2096. India +0.2% to 18558.
In Europe, at midday, London closed. Paris -0.6%. Frankfurt -0.3%.
Futures at 6:20: Dow -0.1%. S&P -0.1%. Nasdaq flat. Crude flat at $106.41. Gold -0.1% to $1395.
Notable earnings before today's open: QIHU
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