Review: A sobering twist on high finance

April 1, 2016

The bloody world of drug cartels becomes a fascinating business case study in journalist Tom Wainwright’s “Narconomics.” Supply-chain efficiency, R&D spending and even HR headaches factor into the analytical black joke. It’s also a lucid and persuasive argument for legalization.

Valeant’s platform trembles beneath Ackman’s feet

October 19, 2015

The hedge fund manager bought a 5.5 pct stake because Valeant offered a cure for poor capital allocation by drugmakers. Now it’s scaling back on acquisitions, raising R&D and limiting price increases. The outsiders missed the political benefits to pharma’s spending.

Glaxo sale comes with cheeky earnings side effect

August 21, 2015

UK pharmaceutical firm GlaxoSmithKline is selling a multiple sclerosis drug to Novartis for up to $1 bln. It’s a logical move and Glaxo gets a good price. The quirk: it will include proceeds from the one-off as part of underlying revenue. Pharma investors need to watch their core.

Shire M&A machine stumbles on $30 bln Baxalta bid

August 4, 2015

The onetime Irish target for AbbVie is planning a mega-deal of its own. Unlike the previous combination, Shire’s Baxalta purchase has industrial logic as well as tax benefits. Shareholders, though, might have preferred being bought out to assuming all the risks of a takeover.

Don’t blame the messenger, Jefferies

By Rob Cox
November 3, 2014

Top brass at the $45 bln Wall Street firm peed in cups and chastised the press for writing about salacious charges against one of its rainmakers. The response is not exactly confidence-inducing behavior for a business built as much on trust as the assets on the balance sheet.

Amgen investors gain from investment banker CEO

By Rob Cox
September 5, 2013

The biotech led by Bob Bradway, formerly of Morgan Stanley, made mincemeat of the value arguments put up by Onyx and its advisers, raising its offer only 4 pct to clinch a $10.4 bln deal last week. An M&A banker at the helm can work – when it’s negotiating prowess that matters.

Uruguay’s weed spoils could get even higher

December 12, 2013

The country is first to legalize marijuana trade, with production from co-ops, sales to locals only and prices fixed. Relaxing such restrictions, however, could really spark up the economy. The Dutch did well from cannabis tourism, but agribusiness could be the winner in Uruguay.

Merck woes show animal drugs are no panacea

December 31, 2013

Animal medicine, whether for livestock or pets, is booming. Pfizer’s spin-off, Zoetis, trades at a fat valuation premium. But controversy over Zilmax, Merck’s muscle-building feed additive, suggests that an increasingly complicated food chain comes with its own investment risks.