c.2013 New York Times News Service
VALEANT TO BUY BAUSCH & LOMB FOR $8.7 BILLION
Bausch & Lomb, the eye care company, agreed Monday to sell itself to Valeant Pharmaceuticals International of Canada for about $8.7 billion, sidestepping the lengthier process of an initial public offering. Under the terms of the deal, Valeant will pay $4.5 billion to the investor group that owns Bausch & Lomb, led by the private equity firm Warburg Pincus. It will also spend about $4.2 billion to repay Bausch & Lomb’s debt. The agreement continues the flurry of deal-making in the health care industry, as companies seek to buy the growth they are hard-pressed to generate on their own.
BEARING DOWN ON HEALTH COSTS
While most of the attention on the Obama administration’s health care law has been on providing coverage to uninsured Americans by 2014, workers with employer-paid health insurance are also beginning to feel the effects. Companies hoping to avoid the so-called Cadillac tax, which penalizes companies that offer high-end health care plans to their employees, are beginning to scale back the more generous health benefits they have traditionally offered and to look harder for ways to bring down the overall cost of care. Although the tax does not start until 2018, employers say they have to start now to meet the deadline.
HOTELS WORKING HARDER TO COLLECT CUSTOMER RESPONSES
Hotels want to hear your opinion of your stay. But they no longer feel it is enough to leave a questionnaire in your room and hope for a response, not when TripAdvisor and other public rating sites display customer satisfaction — or dissatisfaction — for all to see. So they may send guests who have just checked out an email survey asking about their stay, and sometimes an additional email if they do not respond to the first one. And hotels monitor what is being said about them on social media and travel websites. The data they collect affects both how they treat their guests overall and how they interact with individual travellers.
NIKKEI SINKS AGAIN AMID MIXED SIGNALS FROM CENTRAL BANK
The Japanese central bank Monday released minutes of a recent meeting that showed some board members skeptical of the bank’s own strategy of lifting Japan from deflation, while another big fall in the country’s stock market stoked fears of further volatility in the weeks and months ahead. But European stocks shrugged off the slide on the Japanese stock market Monday and traded higher as a member of the European Central Bank repeated the bank’s commitment to low interest rates. Stock markets in Britain and the United States were closed for public holidays.
EUROPE AND CHINA TRADE TALKS END BITTERLY
Trade negotiations between the European Union and China ended on Monday with mutual recriminations. China called on the European Union to refrain from imposing tariffs on solar panels, and the European trade commissioner complained that China was pressuring individual countries to prevent Europe from reaching a consensus. The European Union accuses Chinese firms of selling solar panels below cost in Europe, a practice known as dumping, and has already proposed antidumping tariffs of nearly 50 per cent on Chinese solar panel shipments. That is one of the largest categories of Chinese exports to Europe and worth about $27 billion a year.
BUYOUT OFFER BRINGS CHINA INTO THE ORBIT OF CLUB MED
Fewer “crazy signs.” More karaoke. That could be the future for Club Med, the French resort operator, which said Monday that it had received a $700 million buyout offer led by its two largest shareholders, an investment unit of the French insurer AXA and a Chinese conglomerate called Fosun International. The proposed deal gives a Chinese company an unusually visible role in the acquisition and development of a prominent Western brand, which for years defined the packaged exoticism of beach vacations for Europeans and North Americans. Now, though, the ascent of the Chinese tourist is helping reshape the world’s idea of the ideal getaway.
POWERHOUSE OF THE URANIUM ENRICHMENT INDUSTRY SEEKS AN EXIT
The company that operates Urenco, a uranium enrichment centre in Capenhurst, England, is the world leader in the field. It is also plumply profitable. So why are its owners eager to sell it? The answer, as with many things involving nuclear power, is a combination of economics, geopolitics and the Promethean prospect of an energy source that is as potentially green and abundant as deadly dangerous. Analysts estimate Urenco’s market value at about 10 billion euros, or $12.9 billion.