AstraZeneca in Deal for Pearl Therapeutics Worth Up to $1.15 Billion (DealBook)
The European drug maker AstraZeneca agreed on Monday to buy the American respiratory drug manufacturer Pearl Therapeutics for up to $1.15 billion. Under the terms of the deal, AstraZeneca will pay an initial $560 million for Pearl Therapeutics, based in Redwood City, Calif., whose products treat a number of respiratory diseases, including asthma. AstraZeneca will pay an additional $590 million if Pearl hits certain regulatory and sales targets, according to a statement from AstraZeneca.
Schwab Topping Goldman Sachs Presages Return to Stocks (Bloomberg)
Charles Schwab Corp., TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. and E*Trade Financial Corp. have climbed 38 percent on average in 2013, beating the S&P 500 by 23 percentage points and eclipsing returns in financial shares from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to Bank of America Corp., according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The last times that happened, equity mutual funds received about $91 billion, 24 percent more than the annual average in the two decades before the financial crisis, the data show. Bulls say a rally in brokers that serve private investors means individuals are preparing to embrace shares after they pulled almost $400 billion from stock funds in the last four years. Bears say buying by individuals who missed the rally shows gains are close to peaking as another pool of untapped demand gets absorbed.
Accord Reached Over SEC Firing (WSJ)
The Securities and Exchange Commission agreed to pay $580,000 to a former employee who said the SEC retaliated against him for reporting wrongdoing at the agency. David Weber, a former supervisor in the SEC's internal watchdog office, sued the agency for $40 million in damages last fall after he was fired for carrying a handgun on a work trip, according to his lawsuit, which is resolved by the settlement. The agency earlier had placed him on leave because some employees said they felt physically threatened by him, according to a report by the Inspector General for the U.S. Postal Service, which was requested by the SEC.
SEC counsel faces whistleblower’s claims (FT)
The new chief counsel to the Securities and Exchange Commission chairman is the subject of a discrimination complaint from a former colleague at Deutsche Bank, who claims he was fired for blowing the whistle on fraud. Robert Rice joined the SEC last week, working directly for Mary Jo White, the new SEC chairman. He moved from Deutsche where he was head of governance, litigation and regulation for the Americas. Eric Ben-Artzi, a former Deutsche risk manager, filed a discrimination complaint with the US Department of Labor last year, alleging he was fired after telling the SEC that Germany’s biggest bank had hidden billions of dollars of losses with mismarked derivatives positions. ... At one meeting in May 2011, the complaint alleges that Mr Rice told Mr Ben-Artzi he would be provided “with no additional information regarding his concerns” and “admonished [him] for having put in written form (an email) that bank managers . . . appeared to be concealing information”.
Leaker’s Employer Became Wealthy by Maintaining Government Secrets (NYT)
Edward J. Snowden’s employer, Booz Allen Hamilton, has become one of the largest and most profitable corporations in the United States almost exclusively by serving a single client: the government of the United States. Over the last decade, much of the company’s growth has come from selling expertise, technology and manpower to the National Security Agency and other federal intelligence agencies. Booz Allen earned $1.3 billion, 23 percent of the company’s total revenue, from intelligence work during its most recent fiscal year.
Euro bailout Troika nears end of road with patchy record (Reuters)
An IMF source, speaking on condition of anonymity because he is still involved with the bailout programs, said the real problem with the Troika was that no one was in charge. "It's more like a soccer team with no manager and no clear definition of who plays where on the field," he said.
Ex-Goldman Sachs janitor sues for being forced into post-Hurricane Sandy destruction (NYDN)
A former janitor at the Goldman Sachs building who helped the company batten down the hatches during Hurricane Sandy claims a drunken supervisor tossed him out the lower Manhattan headquarters — and into the aftermath of the storm. That, Mefit “Mike” Zecevic claims, was the start of a terrifying odyssey through the darkness and floodwaters back home to storm-shattered Staten Island — an ordeal that left him shivering for days and unable to function for weeks. Zecevic says Goldman Sachs’ janitorial firm, ABM Industries, then fired him for allegedly stealing $100 from the discarded shirt of a co-worker who now has his job — a charge he denies. Now Zecevic, 42, is suing ABM for $10 million and fighting to get his job back.
Obama to name Furman as chief economist (Reuters)
President Barack Obama on Monday will nominate longtime adviser Jason Furman to be his new chief White House economist, an administration official said. Furman, who will replace economist Alan Krueger as chair of the White House's Council of Economic Advisers (CEA), has a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University and has advised Obama since his 2008 election campaign. Furman has been instrumental in formulating administration policies on taxes, the response to the U.S. recession, the formulation of a sweeping healthcare overhaul and efforts to avoid a "fiscal cliff" at the end of last year.
SoftBank and Sprint Weigh Alternatives to a Deal (DealBook)
SoftBank has staunchly defended its bid for Sprint, repeatedly assailing Dish’s offer as unworkable, and won the conditional support of an influential shareholder advisory firm. The Japanese company has argued that it can close its deal by next month, while its rival would need much more time, costing Sprint shareholders money. But SoftBank has been laying the groundwork for a potential backup plan: It has been in talks with Deutsche Telekom about potential options for the German telecommunication concern’s majority stake in T-Mobile US, according to a person briefed on the matter.
Activist investor sends Alere letter calling for unit sales (Reuters)
Coppersmith Capital Management, which holds a 5.8 percent stake in the company, has been pressuring the company to make changes since last month. The hedge fund has nominated a slate of three directors to Alere's board. The hedge fund sent the letter days after Alere put its own slate of new nominees up for election to its board, replacing all four of the board members who were expected to stand for reelection this year. Coppersmith said in the letter - which has been reviewed by Reuters - that Alere should exit non-core businesses including its health care management business, called Health Information Solutions; its consumer products joint venture with Procter & Gamble; and, possibly, its toxicology unit.
National Envelope Prepares Bankruptcy Filing (WSJ)
The envelope business is just one of many, from newspapers to books to yellow-page directories, that have had to adjust as the Internet upends habits. Email and online bill payments are some of the methods that have rendered envelopes unnecessary.
Battle Scars May Help Explain Risk Averse Corporate America (FBN)
A study from the Universities of Michigan and Washington found that cash-to-asset ratios were 3.2 to 5.4 percentage points higher for non-financial companies run by CEOs who were previously employed by a firm that experienced financial difficulties.“These findings collectively support the view that professional experience of financial difficulties pushes managers to be overly conservative and save too much,” professors Amy Dittmar and Ran Duchin wrote in the paper, which was released this month.
39-year-old ex of retired 83-year-old Wall Street exec is now on welfare — and thinks she deserves more $$$ (NYP)
Christine Jensen, 39, knew G. Bruce Leib, 83, was too old for her when they married in 2007. But she was taken by the former Wall Street exec’s apparently deep pockets. They rode horses together, and he wined and dined her at top Manhattan restaurants, including the Park Avenue Union Club. ... Now the former medical receptionist is living on the $1,000 a month the retired Morgan Stanley vice president sends her. But she’s convinced she’s owed more from their five-year union. ... Leib said he lost it all in the 2008 market crash. “She thinks I have money hidden away, but I don’t,” he said. “It’s been a very rough time for me also.”
Erin Brockovich arrested while boating in Nevada (AP)
Environmental activist Erin Brockovich, portrayed by Julia Roberts in a 2000 movie about her fight over the pollution of a California town, was arrested on suspicion of boating while intoxicated at Lake Mead near Las Vegas, authorities said Sunday. ... A game warden noticed she was struggling and needed assistance while trying to moor her motor boat at the Las Vegas Boat Harbor, he said. Brockovich had been out on the boat with a male companion but was alone when she tried to dock it. "She was not sure how to maneuver the boat into the dock," Lyngar told The Associated Press. "It's a simple thing if you can think clearly. But if you add alcohol and unfamiliarity of the area, it can all cause serious problems."