GlaxoSmithKline: A record marketing settlement
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) agreed to plead guilty and pay $3 billion to resolve criminal and civil charges that it illegally marketed off-label uses for prescription drugs and failed to adequately report safety data. The settlement, a record for a U.S. health fraud case, includes a criminal fine of $956.8 million. GSK will plead guilty to misdemeanors for marketing the depression drugs Paxil and Wellbutrin for unapproved uses and for failing to report some clinical data on the diabetes drug Avandia. The settlement also includes $1.04 billion to resolve civil claims relating to Paxil and Wellbutrin, as well as off-label marketing of other medications for which it did not admit wrongdoing.
Beats Electronics: A purchase to stream tunes
Beats Electronics, which makes the iconic red Beats by Dr. Dre headphones, bought a music service called MOG to be able to offer streaming of high-quality soundtracks and playlists. Beats, which is majority-controlled by Korean electronics maker HTC, wants to use its music-enhancing software to give MOG subscribers a better listening experience than competitors such as Spotify and Rhapsody International. Beats, which controls nearly a third of the U.S. premium headphone market, is expanding into other fast-growing markets.
Apple: Ending a trademark dispute in China
Apple (AAPL) paid $60 million to settle a two-year-old legal dispute with Proview International over the iPad trademark in China. Before the agreement, Proview wanted China to block shipments of Apple’s iPad tablets in and out of the country, and asked local retailers to stop selling them. In 2009, Apple paid Proview’s Taiwan unit about $54,800 to use the iPad name in mainland China. The current dispute centered on whether the Taiwan operation had the right to sell those rights, which Proview’s Shenzhen unit had originally trademarked.
Airbus: Soon to be Made in America
Airbus (EADSY) plans to build single-aisle jets in the U.S. for the first time, encroaching on Boeing’s (BA) home market as North American airlines look to renew their fleets. Next year, Airbus will start building a new factory in Mobile, Ala., to make the A320, which competes with Boeing’s 737. It expects deliveries to start in 2016 and to manufacture 40 to 50 planes annually by 2018. Airbus leapfrogged Boeing as the industry leader in 2003, a position it’s maintained ever since. It already has factories in Germany, France, and China.
Microsoft: Writing down an ad business
Microsoft (MSFT) is taking a $6.2 billion writedown for almost the entire amount it paid for Internet-advertising company AQuantive. The software giant bought AQuantive for about $6.3 billion in 2007, soon after Google (GOOG) purchased the online ad company DoubleClick. The AQuantive deal hasn’t accelerated Microsoft’s online growth as much as anticipated, though operating losses in its online-services unit narrowed to $1.45 billion in the nine months through March 31, down nearly 25 percent from a year earlier.