Daily Archives: March 16, 2015

UPDATE 4-Valeant trumps Endo with $10.96 billion bid for Salix Pharma

(Updates with financing details)

By Ankur Banerjee and Rod Nickel

(Reuters) – Valeant Pharmaceuticals International
Inc increased its takeover offer for Salix
Pharmaceuticals Inc to $10.96 billion in cash on
Monday, eliminating Endo International Plc, the only
other bidder for the maker of gastrointestinal drugs.

Salix has agreed to Valeant’s new offer of $173 a share in
cash, up from the bid of $158 per share in cash that Valeant
made late last month, the two companies said in a joint
statement.

Salix would be the largest purchase ever made by
Canada-based Valeant, whose growth has long been fueled by
acquisitions and cost-cutting. The acquisition would offer some
redemption for dealmaking Valeant Chief Executive Michael
Pearson, whose hostile bid for Allergan Inc failed last
year.

It would also be a boost for investor Bill Ackman, who
announced last week he had bought a more than $3 billion stake
in Valeant after having worked with the company on the Allergan
bid.

Even so, the deal would sharply raise Valeant’s debt, and it
is buying a company that last year was forced to slash its
full-year earnings forecast after supply levels for certain
drugs were higher than earlier indicated.

The short bidding war for Salix pitted Valeant’s Pearson
against his former protege, Endo Chief Executive Rajiv De Silva,
a top executive at Valeant until 2012.

Salix shares rose 2 percent to $172.75 on the Nasdaq on
Monday, while Valeant’s U.S.-listed shares gained 2.5 percent to
$202.34.

Endo shares climbed 2.7 percent on the Nasdaq to $89.65.

Ireland-based Endo said in a statement that it was
withdrawing its bid and has other potential deals and research
and development on which to focus.

Endo offered last Wednesday to buy Salix in a deal worth
about $175 per share in cash and stock. As of Friday’s close,
Endo’s offer was worth $172.56 per share.

Valeant’s new offer provides Salix stockholders with about
$1 billion more in cash, Valeant said. The deal was expected to
close on April 1.

Valeant also announced a $1.45 billion share offering and
said it would use the net proceeds, along with borrowed funds
and cash on hand to fund the Salix purchase. A source close to
the matter said Valeant would not issue more debt to fund the
acquisition, according to IFR, a Thomson Reuters publication.

Valeant said its bid gives Salix an enterprise value of
about $15.8 billion.

(Reporting by Ankur Banerjee in Bengaluru and Rod Nickel in
Winnipeg, Manitoba, additional reporting by Natalie Harrison and
Caroline Humer in New York; Editing by Savio D’Souza and Peter
Galloway)


Source: Newsjyoti Hot Stock News

Kurds report more chlorine attacks, Iraq pauses Tikrit offensive

A chlorine-tinged cloud of smoke rises into the air from a bomb detonated by Iraqi army and Shi'ite fighters from Hashid Shaabi forces, in the town of al-Alam in Salahuddin province
(Reuters) – Iraq paused its Tikrit offensive on Monday and officials called for more air strikes against Islamic State militants, while an officer said Kurdish forces sustained two more chlorine gas attacks by insurgents.

 

General Aziz Waisi told journalists the insurgents used chlorine twice during a January offensive west of Mosul and once in a December attack on his military police brigade in the Sinjar mountain area. One attack near Mosul, on Jan. 23, was described by Kurdish authorities on Saturday.

Waisi said a number of military police – he did not say how many – were taken to hospital, where blood tests indicated they had inhaled chlorine gas released by the bombs.

“When it exploded, we realized it was not a normal smoke because it caused unconsciousness and vomiting,” he said.

He declined to say whether samples from the two previously unreported attacks had been tested along with those from the Jan. 23 attack.

The Dutch-based Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said over the weekend it had not had a request from Iraq to investigate claims of chemical weapons use.

Iraq’s Kurds were the victims of the deadliest chemical attack of modern times when Saddam Hussein’s air force bombed the town of Halabja in 1988, killing at least 5,000 people.

TIKRIT PAUSE

In Tikrit, military officials said there was no fighting on Monday. Islamic State insurgents controlling large parts of north and west Iraq and territory in neighboring Syria have held onto central districts of Saddam’s home city and have laid explosives to hold up the advancing forces.

The offensive by Iraqi security forces and mainly Shi’ite militia, who entered Tikrit last week, is their largest yet against Islamic State, but it stalled on Friday.

Government forces control of most of the northern Qadisiya district as well as the southern and western outskirts of the city, trapping the militants in an area bounded by a river along Tikrit’s eastern edge.

“We need air support from any force that can work with us against IS,” Deputy Minister of Defence Ibrahim al-Lami told Reuters, declining to say whether he meant from the U.S.-led coalition or Iran, which is playing a role in the assault.

The Pentagon said it did not view the offensive in Tikrit as stalled. “Offensive operations like this have a rhythm to them,” said Pentagon spokesman Army Colonel Steve Warren.

“There’s always going to be a requirement to regenerate combat power, to consolidate and reorganize before the next phase,” he said.

Warren said the U.S.-led coalition helping Iraq had not conducted any strikes in support of operations in Tikrit.

Powerful militia commander Hadi al-Amiri, head of the Shi’ite paramilitary Badr Organisation, said earlier in the offensive that militia victories before the Tikrit battle had been won without coalition air support.

Interior Minister Mohammed al-Ghaban said authorities had temporarily halted the offensive in Tikrit “to reduce casualties among our heroic forces… and to preserve the remaining infrastructure.”

“We will choose the appropriate time to attack the enemy and liberate the area,” he told journalists in Samarra, 95 kilometers (60 miles) north of Baghdad.

KURDISH ADVANCE

More than 20,000 troops and Iranian-backed Shi’ite militia are taking part in the operation, which began two weeks ago, supported by a relatively small contingent of Sunni fighters from Tikrit and the surrounding Salahuddin province.

The assault is seen as a litmus test for plans to retake the large northern city of Mosul, which is likely to be a far more complex operation.

Meanwhile, coalition air strikes helped Kurdish forces seize Wahda, Saada, and Khalid villages from Islamic State in the north and drive militants away from the oil-rich city of Kirkuk.

Shi’ite Turkmen fighters also clashed for a fourth day with Islamic State insurgents near Bashir village, south of Kirkuk.

In Baghdad, U.S. presidential envoy General John Allen addressed a meeting of Iraqi and foreign officials aimed at kicking off efforts to stabilize and rebuild territories retaken from Islamic State.

The militants have been driven back by Kurdish peshmerga forces in the north and Shi’ite militia known as Hashid Shaabi (Popular Mobilisation) in the eastern province of Diyala, the Baghdad belt and north of the capital.

Allen said Iraqis were beginning to recover from life under Islamic State in Diyala and “hopefully soon” in Tikrit, local governance would prove difficult because many officials had been killed, were in exile or co-operated with Islamic State.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s spokesman Rafid al-Jaboori echoed calls for more air strikes: “We have been saying we need more air support for all operations,” he told Reuters. “We welcome air support for all our campaigns against IS”.

(Additional reporting by Ahmed Rasheed and Saif Hameed in Baghdad, Mustafa Mahmoud in Kirkuk, David Alexander in Washington; Writing by Isabel Coles; Editing by Tom Heneghan)


Source: Newsjyoti Top Trending

Families flee Libya’s Sirte as clashes with Islamic State escalate

Fighters from Misrata move towards positions of Islamic State militants, near Sirte
(Reuters) – Dozens of families fled Libya’s coastal city of Sirte on Monday after two days of clashes between Islamic State militants and fighters loyal to a government based in Tripoli, with violence likely to escalate

 

Witnesses reported families packed into cars and headed west toward Misrata, stronghold of the Libya Dawn armed group that backs the self-declared government in the capital, Tripoli. Some 20 cars evacuated staff from a hospital.

A Serbian nurse leaving Sirte told Reuters their manager had advised them to leave because there would be more fighting soon. Fuel was running short and some shops had closed, another resident said.

Pan-Arab TV channel Al-Arabiya said on its website that Islamic State (IS) militants had kidnapped foreign medical staff in Sirte. Reuters could not confirm this.

Two Serbian nurses traveling with a Bulgarian colleague said they saw IS fighters as they left Sirte, but the men had not stopped them.

The region east of Sirte has been a battlefield since December when Libya Dawn tried to seize Libya’s biggest oil ports, Es Sider and Ras Lanuf. They are held by forces loyal to the internationally recognized government of Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni based in the east.

Spain said on Monday the European Union should consider an oil embargo and freezing of Libyan central bank assets if U.N.-brokered talks to resolve the country’s political crisis failed.

Reinforcements from Misrata arrived on Monday on the outskirts of Sirte, birthplace of the late strongman Muammar Gaddafi, who was ousted in 2011 after four decades in power.

Islamic State has exploited turmoil in Libya, where Thinni’s government and the administration in Tripoli and their respective allies are fighting for power.

Militants loyal to Islamic State have taken over government buildings, a hospital and the university in Sirte and fought at the weekend near the city with Libya Dawn forces, residents said.

On Sunday, a car bomb exploded at the Misrata headquarters of a force sent to fight Islamic State in Sirte and IS militants claimed the attack on social media. Misrata has largely been spared the violence gripping other parts of Libya.

Militants loyal to Islamic State have also claimed responsibility for an attack on Tripoli’s luxury Corinthia hotel in January, as well as the beheading of 21 Egyptian Copts from Sirte.

During the 2011 uprising that toppled Gaddafi, Misrata forces captured Sirte, where the former strongman had made a last stand. Some residents accused Misrata forces later of taking revenge on them by looting houses.

(Writing by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Tom Heneghan)


Source: Newsjyoti Top Trending

No place for Assad in Syria talks, U.S. officials say

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad is seen during the filming of an interview with the BBC, in Damascus February 9, 2015. REUTERS/SANA/Handout via Reuters

Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad is seen during the filming of an interview with the BBC, in Damascus February 9, 2015.

Credit: Reuters/SANA/Handout via Reuters


(Reuters) – The United States insisted on Monday it would never negotiate directly with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, edging away from comments made by Secretary of State John Kerry, and it cast doubt on any immediate prospects for third-party talks to resolve Syria’s civil war.

Kerry’s apparent suggestion in a CBS television interview on Sunday that there could be a place for Assad in efforts to reach a diplomatic solution to the Syrian conflict drew swift criticism from European and Arab allies.

Seeking to calm the diplomatic storm, State Department and White House officials sought to clarify Kerry’s remarks and show that Washington’s position on Assad had not softened.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said that while the United States accepted the need for representatives of Assad’s government to participate in any negotiations, “it would not be and would never be – and it wasn’t what Secretary Kerry was intending to imply – that that would be Assad himself.”

“We continue to believe … that there’s no future for Assad in Syria,” Psaki told reporters.

Washington has made clear that its top priority in Syria is the fight against Islamic State militants, who have seized large swathes of the country as well as parts of Iraq. Syria’s civil war is now into its fifth year, with hundreds of thousands killed and millions of Syrians displaced, and Assad is showing no signs of abandoning power.

“We have to negotiate in the end,” Kerry told CBS when asked whether the United States would be willing to negotiate with Assad. “We’ve always been willing to negotiate in the context of the Geneva I process,” he added, referring to a 2012 conference that called for a negotiated transition to end the conflict.

Kerry also said the United States and other countries, which he did not name, were exploring ways to reignite the diplomatic process to end the conflict in Syria.

Psaki said the United States is having “many discussions” with the Russians – who are close allies of Assad – in addition to European and Gulf partners.

When asked whether any new diplomatic efforts were under way through third parties such as the United Nations, she said: “There’s no process underway. There’s no process that’s about to start.”

She said the United States was open to hearing more about a Russian proposal to convene new Syria talks, but added that she could not predict “an outcome that will move the ball forward.”

The United States led efforts to convene U.N.-backed peace talks in Geneva last year between the Western-backed Syrian opposition and a government delegation. The talks collapsed after two rounds. Russia convened some opposition and government figures in January but they yielded little progress and were boycotted by the main opposition coalition.

Russia on Monday invited the U.N. envoy for Syria to a second round of meetings scheduled for the beginning of April, Interfax reported.

(Reporting By Matt Spetalnick; Editing by Leslie Adler)


Source: Newsjyoti Top Trending

UPDATE 1-Colombia oilfield move challenges Ecopetrol, Canada's Pacific Rubiales

(Adds shares in Toronto down 13 pct, down 0.53 pct in Bogota,
paragraph 5)

(Reuters) – A decision by Colombia’s
state-run Ecopetrol to reclaim control of the Rubiales oil field
will imply heavier investment for it to sustain output and
raises pressure on Canada’s Pacific Rubiales to replace the
future loss of nearly half its production, analysts say.

Ecopetrol announced on Friday it would not renew a
contract in mid-2016 under which Pacific Rubiales
operates the field, putting the Canadian company’s 65,000 barrel
per day share of output back in Ecopetrol’s
hands.

Rubiales is the single most valuable asset of the Canadian
company whose total output is around 145,000 barrels a day,
almost all from projects in Colombia. The company faces a
challenge to replace the oil field as low oil prices slash its
investment, analysts say.

Pacific Rubiales still has the option of submitting a new
proposal to continue operating the field under different terms,
Ecopetrol said, without specifying.

Pacific Rubiales’ Toronto shares ended 13 percent lower on
Monday and Ecopetrol’s Bogota shares down 0.53 percent, the
first trading session to follow the decision on the oil field.

Research by analyst Morningstar published Friday notes that
Pacific Rubiales’ Colombian CPE-6 and Rio Arari blocks, with
which the company has hoped to reach 120,000 barrels daily
output, are producing a meager 1,500 barrels because of weather,
security and environmental issues.

“To date, progress to replace the Rubiales Field production
has been underwhelming,” Morningstar wrote, before the Friday
announcement. It also lowered its valuation to C$4 from C$6.

Morningstar questioned whether Pacific Rubiales would
propose again to operate Rubiales field, stating it had
abandoned development of its STAR technology it was testing to
boost recovery levels.

Ecopetrol, which produces more than 70 percent of Colombia’s
million barrels daily output, will need to pour large amounts of
increasingly scarce cash into Rubiales to maintain output.

Analyst Diego Usme of broker Ultrabursatiles said that in
2016 or 2017, the field is expected to decline to the point of
being uneconomical and Ecopetrol will have difficulty extending
its life to 5 to 7 years.

“You will have to invest more and more to maintain
production and get licenses for water,” Usme said. Water use to
pressurize wells, restricted by license-limits, has been rising
faster than anticipated.

Pacific Rubiales has been seeking to get around the water
limitation by investing in the Agrocascada water recycling
facility to potentially produce 20,000 extra barrels per day.

(Reporting by Peter Murphy; Editing by W Simon and Grant
McCool)


Source: Newsjyoti Company News

Independent panel recommends unblinding study after Imbruvica shows clear benefit

<span class="articleLocatio

n”>(Reuters) – An independent panel recommended unblinding a late-stage study testing Pharmacyclics Inc and Johnson & Johnson’s Imbruvica, after the treatment was successful in treating two types of cancer in combination with other drugs.

Pharmacyclics, which recently agreed to be acquired by AbbVie Inc, said Imbruvica showed a statistically significant improvement in survival without disease progression, the main goal of the study.

Pharmacyclics’ shares were up about 0.6 percent at $256.56 on Monday, while AbbVie’s stock was up about 1.7 percent.

Imbruvica, which is co-marketed by Pharmacyclics and J&J, is already approved for four cancer indications in the United States.

(This version of the story corrects headline to replace “FDA panel” with “independent panel” and drops words “to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration” after “panel” in the first paragraph)

(Reporting by Natalie Grover in Bengaluru; Editing by Simon Jennings)


Source: Newsjyoti Health

REFILE-BRIEF-American Apparel's sale talks with Irving Place Capital have stalled – Bloomberg

(Refiles to add source link)

(Reuters) – American Apparel
Inc :
* American Apparel Inc’s sale talks with Irving place
capital have stalled – Bloomberg
* Further company coverage
* Source: (bloom.bg/1CmTh7E)


Source: Newsjyoti Company News

National CineMedia scraps plans for Screenvision deal after U.S. lawsuit

(Reuters) – National CineMedia Inc
and Screenvision LLC said on Monday that they had
decided to scrap plans to merge after the U.S. government sued
to block the $375 million deal.

The companies said “that after a thorough review of options”
that it had decided to terminate the deal, which had been
reached on May 5, 2014.

The Justice Department filed a lawsuit to stop it in
November on antitrust grounds.

The case is U.S. v. National CineMedia Inc, U.S. District
Court, Southern District of New York, No. 14-08732.

(Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Sandra Maler)


Source: Newsjyoti Company News

Oregon governor signs sweeping automatic voter registration into law

Oregon Governor Kate Brown speaks at the state capital building in Salem

Oregon Governor Kate Brown speaks at the state capital building in Salem, Oregon, February 20, 2015.

Credit: Reuters/Steve Dipaola


(Reuters) – Sweeping first-in-the nation legislation making voter registration automatic in Oregon was signed into law on Monday by Governor Kate Brown, potentially adding 300,000 new voters to state rolls.

 

The so-called Motor Voter legislation will use state Department of Motor Vehicles data to automatically register eligible voters whose information is contained in the DMV system, with a 21-day opt-out period for those who wish to be taken off the registry.

Supporters say the legislation’s goal is to keep young voters, students and working families who move often from losing their right to vote. Republican lawmakers, who unanimously voted against the bill, complain it puts Oregonians’ privacy at risk.

“I challenge every other state in this nation to examine their policies and to find ways to ensure there are as few barriers as possible for citizens’ right to vote,” said Brown, a Democrat who took office last month after John Kitzhaber stepped down amid an ethics scandal.

The current legislation, which Brown had pushed for as secretary of state, goes further than a 1993 federal motor voter law that required states to make voter registration available for people getting or renewing a driver’s license.

Under the state law, the Oregon Secretary of State will use the DMV data, which includes information on whether a person is a citizen, to register voters, who would then be sent a postcard with information on how to opt out of registration altogether.

The postcard will also instruct voters on how to choose a political party, and those who do not choose will be registered as unaffiliated under the law.

“A one-size-fits-all approach to voter registration does not work for our most vulnerable citizens that could be endangered if their personal information is suddenly made public,” Republican state Senator Kim Thatcher said in a statement.

Oregon is among a handful of states that conduct elections in a vote-by-mail system and has historically had a high voter turnout rate, above the national average.

The bill is a signature piece of legislation for Brown, who was sworn in as governor Feb. 18 after Kitzhaber resigned.

The ex-governor faces a federal criminal corruption investigation over accusations his fiancée used her role in his office for personal gain. He has denied accusations of wrongdoing.

(This version of the story corrects governor’s name to “Brown” in first paragraph)

(Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Alan Crosby)


Source: Newsjyoti Politics

UPDATE 3-Life Time Fitness to be taken private for over $4 bln

* Cash deal of $72.10/shr

* CEO to invest $125 mln

* Shares up 5.2 pct at $70.66

(Adds Breakingviews link)

By Yashaswini Swamynathan

March 16 (Reuters) – Gym operator Life Time Fitness Inc
said it would be taken private by Leonard Green &
Partners and TPG in a deal valued at over $4 billion.

Life Time’s fitness clubs, which offer activities such as
racquetball and tennis as well as traditional gym workouts, have
been facing increasing competition from sellers of gym equipment
that can be used at home and niche workout companies such as
CrossFit.

Life Time operates 114 fitness centers under its Life Time
Fitness and Life Time Althletic brands in North America.

The company, under pressure from hedge fund Mercato Capital
Management, said last August said it was exploring a potential
conversion of its property into a real-estate investment trust.

Since then Life Time’s shares have risen 62 percent even as
the company reported lower-than-expected profit for the past
three quarters.

The cash offer of $72.10 per share represents a 7.3 percent
premium to Life Time’s Friday close. The company’s shares were
trading at $70.66 on Monday.

The offer values Marcato’s stake of 8 percent at about $225
million, according to Thomson Reuters data. BlackRock
Institutional Trust is the other big investor with a stake of
about 7 percent.

Life Time Chief Executive Bahram Akradi, who will remain in
his role, will make a rollover investment of $125 million in the
company’s stock as part of the deal, the company said. Akradi
owns 6.6 percent of the company.

Other investors involved in the deal, which is expected to
close in the third quarter, include private equity firm LNK
Partners.

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month that
Life Time was in advanced talks with private equity bidders. (on.wsj.com/18nJ8eD)

The paper reported that private equity firm KSL Capital
Partners LLC was in the race to buy Life Time. But Stifel
Nicolaus Capital Markets analysts said on Monday a competitive
bid was “highly unlikely”.

Guggenheim and Wells Fargo are Life Time’s financial
advisers. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and Faegre
Baker Daniels LLP are legal advisers.

Latham & Watkins LLP is legal adviser to Leonard Green &
Partners and Ropes & Gray LLP is advising TPG.

(Editing by Don Sebastian and Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)


Source: Newsjyoti Company News