Amgen to buy deCODE Genetics for $415M

  • Updated: December 10, 2012 - 9:35 PM

The biotechnology giant Amgen, seeking to bolster its drug discovery efforts, said Monday that it would pay $415 million to acquire deCODE Genetics, a gene-hunting firm based in Iceland and known for its headline-grabbing discoveries linking genetic variations to disease. The all-cash deal will give Amgen, based in Thousand Oaks, Calif., access to Reykjavik, Iceland-based deCODE's technology. DeCODE, which is privately held, has had trouble building a sustainable business, and it filed for bankruptcy protection in 2009. It was bought out of bankruptcy in 2010 by Saga Investments, a group led by two venture capital companies, Polaris Venture Partners and Arch Venture Partners.

Japanese firms help bail out electronics maker

On Monday, some of Japan's largest manufacturers are pitching in toward a $1.8 billion bailout of struggling Renesas Electronics. In a statement, Renesas said that eight Japanese manufacturers, including Canon, Nikon, Nissan, Panasonic and Toyota, would contribute about $145 million to the deal. A government fund, the Innovation Network Corporation of Japan, will provide the rest of the aid. The capital injection will help Renesas increase spending on advanced microcontrollers used in cars and electronic devices, the company said.

Wells Fargo hires former HUD official

Wells Fargo & Co., the largest U.S. home lender, hired Bob Ryan, an official with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, amid mounting scrutiny of its mortgage business. Ryan, most recently a senior adviser to HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, will join San Francisco-based Wells Fargo as a senior vice president in the capital markets group, according to Vickee Adams, a company spokeswoman. Ryan will work with local officials and devise strategy with industry trade groups, and is barred from working with Obama administration officials, Adams said. Wells Fargo, which accounted for 1 in 3 U.S. home loans at midyear, is adding staff as regulators and federal officials intensify oversight of the largest mortgage lenders.

Huawei to open R&D center in Finland

Huawei Technologies, a Chinese maker of telecommunications equipment, said Monday that it planned to open a research and development center in Helsinki next year, accelerating its investments in Europe. The move illustrates a transatlantic difference in attitudes toward Huawei. The company has been largely shut out of the U.S. market for network gear because of congressional concerns about possible security threats -- fears the company insists are unfounded.

Verizon moves $7.5B in pension obligations

Phone company Verizon Communications Inc. on Monday said it has transferred $7.5 billion in pension obligations to Prudential Insurance after a retiree association failed to convince a court to stop the move. Members of the Association of BellTel Retirees sued in federal court in Dallas two weeks ago to stop the deal, saying it would weaken the legal protections for retirees. It effectively turns the company's defined-benefit pensions into annuities to be paid by Prudential. Annuities aren't covered by the federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp.

Oregon lawmakers to vote on Nike expansion

Athletic footwear and apparel giant Nike Inc. plans to expand its operations in Oregon and hire hundreds of workers but wants the government to promise that tax rules won't change, prompting a special session of the Legislature. Gov. John Kitzhaber said he'll call lawmakers together Friday in Salem, Ore., to create a new law authorizing him to grant Nike's wish, and legislative leaders said they'll go along.

Air France-KLM to deepen spending cuts

Air France-KLM Group said Monday that it plans to cut capital spending by a further 500 million euros ($645 million) over the next two years as Europe's biggest airline trims investments in a push to pare debt and lift profit margins. "In view of the economic context, the group will announce a further reduction of capex compared with the plan presented last July," Air France-KLM said in a statement before an investor briefing in Paris.

Man Group's CEO to retire at end of February

The Man Group, the world's largest publicly traded hedge fund manager, said Monday that Peter Clarke will retire as chief executive at the end of February after almost 20 years with the firm. The company, which has recently struggled to stem an outflow of client money, appointed its chief operating officer, Emmanuel Roman, to succeed Clarke. Outflows rose almost 60 percent, to $2.2 billion, in the third quarter after Man's flagship fund underperformed. Sales remained weak as clients shied away from moving their money because of Europe's debt crisis and uncertainty in the financial markets.

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