Business Highlights

AP News
|
Posted: May 16, 2016 5:46 PM

___

Detroit's automakers, sensing a threat, embrace mobility

DEARBORN, Mich. AP) — For Detroit, the days of simply making cars are over.

Automakers are facing multiple threats to their business from tech firms. In response, carmakers are reinventing themselves as "mobility" companies that can accommodate all the different ways people get around.

Already this year, General Motors Co. has announced an alliance with ride-hailing company Lyft and started a car-sharing service called Maven. Ford created a technology-focused division based in Silicon Valley that will invest in promising transportation startups. It also launched a smartphone app that helps users find parking or share their cars. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is partnering with Google to test self-driving software in 100 of its minivans.

___

Pfizer buying skin drug maker Anacor for $5.2 billion

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Pfizer is fortifying its key immunology and inflammation drug business, snapping up a small maker of skin disorder treatments for about $5.2 billion, weeks after the U.S. Treasury Department torpedoed Pfizer's planned $160 billion deal for Allergan PLC.

Pfizer Inc.'s agreement Monday to acquire Anacor Pharmaceuticals Inc. is the biggest U.S.-based drugmaker's latest move in a yearslong struggle to accelerate growth.

With Palo Alto, California-based Anacor, Pfizer gains an experimental eczema treatment that could be approved by the Food and Drug Administration by next January, plus U.S. rights to topical toenail fungus treatment Kerydin and a portfolio of other drugs in early testing.

___

Range Resources buys Memorial Resource for $3.3 billion

NEW YORK (AP) — Range Resources will buy rival natural gas producer Memorial Resource Development for about $3.3 billion to expand its range in the East and in the Gulf.

Shareholders of Memorial Resources, based in Houston, will receive 0.375 shares of Range Resources stock for each of their shares. The all-stock deal is valued at about $15.75 per share, marking a 17 percent premium to its closing price Friday.

Range Resources will also assume $1.1 billion in debt.

___

76ers 1st NBA team to land jersey sponsorship with StubHub

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Philadelphia 76ers have become the first team in the NBA to put a sponsorship logo on player uniforms, striking a deal with StubHub for a spot on one of the hottest pieces of real estate available in sports.

StubHub, a website that connects ticket buyers and sellers, will have its logo appear on the front left of the jersey in 2017-18 for the start of a three-year trial period. The patches will appear opposite Nike's logo, and measure about 2½-by-2½ inches.

StubHub's jersey patch will be included on all jerseys sold at Sixers' home games.

___

Apple's latest innovation ... a big stake for Berkshire

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Investors might question Warren Buffett's long-standing aversion to tech stocks after his Berkshire Hathaway bought 9.8 million shares of Apple.

Buffett has always avoided technology companies because he said it was too hard to pick which ones would prevail long term, although he made an exception to that rule to buy a major IBM stake in 2011.

The stake comes with the company's shares under considerable pressure. Billions in value have been wiped from the books since Apple reported a sizable drop in iPhone sales in late April.

___

US reveals how much Treasury debt Saudi Arabia owns

WASHINGTON (AP) — Foreign holdings of U.S. Treasury securities rose in March, with the Treasury Department revealing for the first time in four decades how much Saudi Arabia owns.

In its latest report, Treasury said Monday that that total holdings increased 0.8 percent to a record $6.29 trillion. For the first time since 1974, when the government began releasing data on foreign ownership of Treasury securities, the report broke out ownership for specific countries that it had always lumped together such as "oil exporting nations" and "Caribbean banking centers."

The report showed that Saudi Arabia in March held $116.8 billion in Treasury debt, down 2.5 percent from February.

___

Zoetis launching new doggy med for noise-related anxiety

Fido and Spot may not have to cower under the bed this summer when fireworks and thunderstorms hit, thanks to the first prescription veterinary medicine for treating anxiety over loud noises — a widespread problem that causes property destruction, terrified dogs running away and even life-threatening injuries or euthanasia for some.

Veterinary medicine maker Zoetis Inc. of Florham Park, New Jersey, said Monday that recently approved Sileo will be available through veterinarians within a week.

It's a much-needed option for dogs not helped enough by repurposed medicines designed for their humans, or by rarely effective behavioral strategies.

___

Report says Amazon to expand its store-brand offerings

NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon is planning to expand the store-brand items it sells to new categories including food and household products, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal.

The new products could include nuts and spices and other consumer goods such as diapers and laundry detergent.

The Wall Street Journal report cites unnamed people familiar with the matter. Amazon.com Inc. declined to comment.

Amazon already sells an array of private-label products, or products designed by a third-party manufacturer and sold under a retailer's name — usually cheaper than name-brand products — but food would be a new category.

___

SandRidge Energy files for bankruptcy with $4.1B in debt

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — SandRidge Energy filed for bankruptcy protection Monday, saying it hopes to convert $3.7 billion of long-term debt into equity while allowing the company to keep its operations going.

The Oklahoma City-based company filed the Chapter 11 paperwork in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas. The petroleum and natural gas exploration company said it had the support of creditors who hold more than two-thirds of its $4.1 billion in total debt.

___

Facebook CEO to meet with Glenn Beck, other conservatives

NEW YORK (AP) — Radio host Glenn Beck and American Enterprise Institute president Arthur Brooks are some of the conservative leaders Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg plans to meet with this week.

The meeting, scheduled for Wednesday, follows a report that Facebook employed bias in the way it selected stories for its "Trending Topics" feature. A report in the tech blog Gizmodo claimed that Facebook downplays conservative news subjects. Facebook denies that report, which relied upon a single anonymous individual with self-described conservative leanings.

Nonetheless, Zuckerberg said the company is investigating the matter and has invited conservative leaders to meet with him.

___

EU credit ratings could be cut if UK leaves, Fitch warns

LONDON (AP) — A leading credit ratings agency warned Monday that a British exit from the European Union could eventually lead it to downgrade the ratings of EU countries as well as Britain.

Fitch Ratings said a vote for so-called Brexit would weigh on the economies of other EU countries and increase political risks in Europe. The agency has already said that a vote for Brexit would trigger a review of Britain's AA+ rating.

___

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 175.39 points, or 1 percent, to 17,710.71. The S&P 500 rose 20.05 points, or 1 percent, to 2,066.66. The Nasdaq composite index gained 57.78 points, or 1.2 percent, to 4,775.46

Benchmark U.S. oil rose $1.51 to $47.72 a barrel. Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose $1.14, or 2.4 percent, to $48.97 a barrel in London. In other energy trading in New York, wholesale gasoline rose 2 cents to $1.61 a gallon, heating oil rose 4 cents to $1.44 a gallon and natural gas fell 7 cents to $2.03 per 1,000 cubic feet.