Briefs

Briefs


Briefs

Roche, Bristol-Meyers Squibb: Price Cuts Imposed by China

Roche, Bristol-Myers Squibb China is slashing the price of drugs made by Roche, Bristol-Myers Squibb, (BMY) and other pharma companies by about a third as the government seeks to rein in health-care costs and cool inflation. Research group IMS Health forecasts that Chinaos pharmaceutical market will expand at least 25 percent next year, spurred by a new national health insurance system designed to improve medical care. To sell broadly in China, foreign drugmakers must list their products on a government pharmaceutical reimbursement register, which subjects them to price controls. Some companies, though, are lobbying the government to provide greater incentives for research and innovation.

Google: Under EU Investigation

Google (GOOG) is being probed by European Union antitrust regulators, who allege the company discriminates against competitors in its search results and prevents some website operators from striking deals to accept ads from the search giant's rivals. Google has denied the charges but says it is prepared to work with the European Commission to address concerns.

Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac: Facing Delays, Threatening Penalties

Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac Fannie Mae (FNM) and Freddie Mac (FRE) are meeting resistance in their attempts to push failed mortgages off their books and onto the balance sheets of private banks. The two government-owned mortgage companies have been trying to enforce contracts requiring lenders to buy back loans that didnot meet underwriting standards. By the end of September, banks hadnot responded to $13 billion in buyback requests, according to the companies. Freddie Mac has begun assessing penalties for the delays. Lenders say their underwriting is being unfairly second-guessed and claim that repurchase requests waste government resources, given that about 40 percent are typically rescinded.

Morgan Stanley: A Sale in China

Morgan Stanley Morgan Stanley (MS) is selling its 34.3 percent stake in China International Capital Corp. to KKR (KKR), TPG Capital, Singaporeos Great Eastern Holdings, and the island nationos sovereign-wealth fund, people familiar with the matter say. The deal would end Morganos 15-year relationship with the first Sino-foreign investment bank. Morgan has planned to sell its stake, valued at about $1 billion, since at least February, partly because Beijing wonot allow the firm to take majority control. A sale would let Morgan find a new local partner or build its own investment bank in China. The economic crisis has spurred many foreign investors to dispose of their stakes in Chinese banks for gains.

Seagate Technology: Another IPO Deadend

Seagate Technology (STX), the world's largest maker of disk drives, ended talks to be taken private when buyout firm TPG Capital couldn't find partners to raise equity financing for the takeover, according to a person familiar with the matter. A perception that many disk drives could soon be replaced by flash memory may have made a deal less

On the Move

— Merck (MRK): President Kenneth C. Frazier will assume the additional role of CEO on Jan. 1

— Austrian Airlines: Thierry Antinori named chairman, will start on Apr. 1

— TUI Travel: Former commercial director William Waggott promoted to CFO


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