Caroline's Feed
May 13, 2014

Valeant to sweeten Allergan bid, Ackman turns up heat

By Rod Nickel and Caroline Humer

(Reuters) – Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc (VRX.TO: Quote, Profile, Research) said on Tuesday it will sweeten its unsolicited $47 billion (27.91 billion pounds)offer for drugmaker Allergan Inc (AGN.N: Quote, Profile, Research), and activist shareholder Pershing Square Capital Management said it would ask for a non-binding vote to pressure Allergan to the negotiating table.

The moves by Valeant and Allergan’s biggest shareholder, Pershing, which is led by Bill Ackman, come a day after California-based Allergan rejected Valeant’s current offer and criticised its business model, which is based on a steady pace of acquisitions.

May 13, 2014

Valeant says plans to ‘improve’ offer for Allergan

By Rod Nickel and Caroline Humer

(Reuters) – Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc said on Tuesday it will “improve” its unsolicited $47 billion (27.9 billion pounds) takeover offer for drugmaker Allergan Inc, a day after the U.S. company rejected the bid.

Canada’s Valeant said it would make the change to its cash and stock offer at a May 28 webcast in which it will discuss details of its plans for Allergan’s business. Valeant said it remained committed to getting the deal done but would remain “financially disciplined.”

May 13, 2014

Valeant to boost Allergan bid in move to crack top drugmaker ranks

By Rod Nickel and Caroline Humer

(Reuters) – Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc (VRX.TO: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) said on Tuesday it will “improve” its unsolicited $47 billion takeover offer for drugmaker Allergan Inc (AGN.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), a day after the U.S. company rejected the bid.

Canada’s Valeant said it would make the change to its cash and stock offer at a May 28 webcast in which it will discuss details of its plans for Allergan’s business. Valeant said it remained committed to getting the deal done but would remain “financially disciplined.

May 12, 2014

Allergan rejects Valeant Pharma’s ‘cut and slash’ takeover

By Caroline Humer

(Reuters) – U.S. drugmaker Allergan Inc (AGN.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) on Monday rejected Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc’s (VRX.TO: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz)(VRX.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) $47 billion takeover offer, saying its proposed cost cuts were too steep.

Allergan, which makes popular anti-wrinkle treatment Botox, said it believed Valeant’s business model was unsustainable and that the offer was too risky because of uncertainty about the company’s long-term growth.

May 7, 2014

Humana sees 2014 Medicare Advantage growth, exchange sales surge

By Caroline Humer

(Reuters) – Managed care company Humana Inc(HUM.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) said on Wednesday that it expects growth in Medicare Advantage plans in 2014 despite government cuts to funding and said its will add hundreds of thousands of new customers in Obamacare plans.

Humana said it has received 700,000 applications for individual healthcare plans during the open enrollment period for the new insurance, putting it on track to be one of the largest players on the exchanges.

Apr 24, 2014

Aetna says early months of Obamacare better than feared

By Caroline Humer

(Reuters) – Aetna Inc (AET.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) said on Thursday its first few months under Obamacare turned out better than expected as it added new members not only on the exchanges but in its traditional large corporate business.

Aetna’s shares surged 5.5 percent as the company allayed some investor concern that health costs were higher than what it and competitors had planned for. It also said it beat first-quarter profit expectations as bad weather helped keep down doctor visits and medical costs.

Apr 24, 2014

Aetna quarterly profit beats forecasts as new members surge

By Caroline Humer

(Reuters) – Aetna Inc (AET.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) on Thursday reported a better-than-expected first quarter, helped by a surge in profits from its commercial business and by adding new customers.

New customers were sourced partly from employers and partly from insurance exchanges created under President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law.

Apr 22, 2014

Novartis, Valeant bids herald new deal-making era for pharma

By Caroline Humer

(Reuters) – A series of agreed or proposed drug company deals may herald a new era of acquisitions not seen since last decade as pharmaceutical companies improve their best businesses and exit weaker ones.

Novartis (NOVN.VX: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) agreed to trade more than $20 billion worth of assets, boosting Novartis’ cancer-drug business and Glaxo’s vaccines business. Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX.TO: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) made a $47 billion unsolicited offer for Allergan Inc (AGN.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), the maker of Botox, to boost its skin care business. Reports that Pfizer Inc (PFE.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) was rebuffed earlier this year in discussions to buy AstraZeneca Inc (AZN.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) for more than $100 billion only fed anticipation that more mergers are ahead.

Apr 17, 2014

UnitedHealth: New hepatitis C drug costs far more than forecast

By Caroline Humer

(Reuters) – UnitedHealth Group Inc (UNH.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), the largest U.S. health insurer, said on Thursday it has spent more than $100 million to cover a pricey new hepatitis C drug from Gilead Sciences Inc (GILD.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), a higher cost than it expected by “multiples,” sending shares in the sector lower.

UnitedHealth is the first insurer to put a number to what the industry may pay to cover patients using Gilead’s new Sovaldi treatment, whose $84,000 price tag has spurred a national outcry over the rising costs of specialty medicines. . UnitedHealth did not disclose what it had expected to spend on the hepatitis C drug.

Apr 11, 2014

Texas Medicaid holds off on proposed limits for Gilead hepatitis drug

By Caroline Humer

(Reuters) – Texas is reconsidering whether to impose strict limits on Gilead Sciences’ $84,000 hepatitis C treatment for patients on the state’s Medicaid health plan for the poor, at the urging of outside advisers, a state official said on Friday.

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission, which oversees Medicaid, had proposed a policy to allow the drug, Sovaldi, to be used mainly for sicker patients, such as those whose hepatitis C had developed into advanced liver disease, according to state documents reviewed by Reuters.