U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer (PFE) has approached British rival AstraZeneca (AZN.L) to propose a 60 billion pound ($101 billion) takeover, the Sunday Times reported on Sunday. The paper said, citing senior investment bankers and industry sources, that informal conversations about a deal had taken place between the two firms but that no talks were currently under way after AstraZeneca resisted the approach. AstraZeneca is Britain's second-biggest pharmaceuticals group with a current market valuation of around $80 billion, compared with Pfizer, which is valued at $193 billion, according to Thomson Reuters data. Earnings at AstraZeneca fell 6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013, and the drugmaker has said it expects them to keep falling in 2014 as generic competition to Nexium, its popular heartburn and ulcer drug, takes a big bite out of U.S. profits from late May.
Several behemoths, including Apple, the largest U.S. company by market value, as well as Microsoft, McDonald's (MCD.N) and AT&T (NYS:T), are due to report earnings. They'll be accompanied by highfliers like Netflix and Facebook, giving the first real cross-section of the state of corporate America as temperatures rise across the country and investors hope to put the cold weather behind them. Strategists will also be looking for clues on how badly China's slowdown hits U.S. corporate results. The first batch of earnings came out as equities were working their way through a selloff led by trading-crowd favorites like Netflix and the biotech stocks.
U.S. car giant General Motors Corp (GM) (GM) plans to invest $12 billion in China from 2014 to 2017 and build more plants next year as it steps up its presence to compete with aggressive rivals in the world's largest auto market. GM expects its China sales to expand 8-10 percent this year, in line with the overall growth of the Chinese market, where foreign firms, such as Volkswagen AG (VOW3.DE), and domestic players like SAIC Motor Corp vie for more market share. In total we are investing $12 billion between 2014 and 2017," Matt Tsien, president of GM China, said at the Auto China show in Beijing. GM plans to build five more plants in China next year, as part of its efforts to ramp up manufacturing capacity there by 65 percent by 2020, executives said on Sunday.