Big Pharma may consider paying billions of dollars in fines for "off label" marketing and related illegal sales practices as just a cost of doing business in a highly lucrative sport of catch-me-if-you-can, but it is not used to seeing its executives face criminal charges and possible jail time. The game changed yesterday when Chinese authorities charged Mark Reilly, the British-born former head of GlaxoSmithKline in that country, and two other Chinese-born top executives, with corruption.
With the stock markets continually flirting with all-time highs lately, you'd think that we'd all be crooning "Happy Days Are Here Again" and spending like crazy, no? But indications are that consumers - even as their "confidence" hovers at levels not seen since the Recession of '08 hit home - remain wary. And although they've been taking on more debt, mostly in mortgages, they have been tightfisted in other areas.
Signaling that it believes the best bet for zero-emissions technology to be hydrogen fuel cells rather than battery-powered electric vehicles championed by Tesla Motors, Toyota confirmed yesterday that it is ending a partnership that has been sputtering to a standstill after an initial burst of enthusiasm and a $50 million investment.
The deal is still not done but the talk - pro and con - has been as incessant as the backbeat leaking from a pair of headphones ever since "Financial Times" broke the story Thursday that Apple was considering a whopping $3.2 billion purchase of Beat Electronics' audio equipment and music steaming service.
The massive "merger of equals" between Publicis Groupe and Omnicom Group that would have created the industry's largest ad agency holding company proved to an unsolvable equation and was erased from the chalkboard yesterday.
Investors appreciated Whole Foods Market founder and CEO John Mackey's candor late Tuesday about the increase in competition in the organic foods market so much that they "ate it alive," as one headline put it, driving the company's share price down by 19% yesterday.
Big Pharma's quest for focus and consolidation continued yesterday with Germany-based Bayer announcing that it is acquiring New Jersey-based Merck's Consumer Care division - including such retail shelf staples as Claritin, Coppertone and Dr. Scholl's - for $14.2 billion. The deal will make Bayer the No. 2 company in over-the-counter sales to the combined Novartis and GlaxoSmithKline lineup once the respective deals close.
In what is being hailed as another victory for consumers who petition companies to do right - in this case, a Hattiesburg, Miss., teenager - Coca-Cola is following Pepsi-Cola's lead and is removing brominated vegetable oil (BVO) from drinks such as Powerade and Fanta.
Sergio Marchionne and his Fiat Chrysler colleagues are set to unveil an ambitious five-year plan business plan at a briefing in Auburn Hills, Mich., tomorrow that commentators this morning are doing their prognosticating best to make yesterday's news.
Despite somewhat less-than-marvelous reviews, observers are predicting that "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" will kick off the start of the domestic summer box office season this weekend with a gross in the $100 million range - enough to justify the more than $150 million it will reportedly spend on marketing.