Business briefs: J&J to sell diagnostics business for $4 billion

  • Updated: March 31, 2014 - 9:35 PM

J&J to sell diagnostics business for $4 billion

Johnson & Johnson has accepted an offer of about $4 billion from the private equity firm Carlyle Group to buy its Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics business. J&J said that the deal for the blood-testing unit should close by midyear. The New Brunswick, N.J., health care giant had said in January that Washington, D.C.-based Carlyle Group had offered $4.15 billion for the business, and that it would talk to works councils and trade unions representing its employees before making a decision. The Ortho-Clinical business serves hospitals, testing laboratories and blood banks. It supplies equipment and chemicals to screen donated blood for HIV, hepatitis C and other diseases.

Zuckerberg cashes in $3.3 billion in options

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg reaped a $3.3 billion gain last year by exercising stock options in the social networking company that he founded in a Harvard University dorm room. The windfall saddled Zuckerberg with a huge tax bill, even though he limited his Facebook salary to just $1, according to regulatory documents. It marks the second straight year that Zuckerberg has realized a huge gain on the holding that he has accumulated in Facebook Inc. since he started the company in 2004. In 2012, Zuckerberg made $2.3 billion off his stock options. Zuckerberg, 29, now has exhausted his supply of stock options after exercising 60 million of them last year at a price of 6 cents per share. He then sold 41.35 million shares for $55.05 apiece in December, primarily to pay taxes on the gains.

FCC rules to curtail joint TV operations

The Federal Communications Commission approved new rules that will greatly reduce and potentially bring to an end the popular practice of business partnerships between competing local television stations. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said such partnerships have been abused by many broadcasters who have used so-called joint sales agreements to get around the regulatory agency’s rules limiting the number of television stations a broadcaster can own. The new guidelines are seen as a blow to several big broadcasters including Sinclair Broadcast Group and Nexstar Broadcasting, two of the nation’s largest owners of local television stations. The FCC did not say how many JSAs currently exist, but industry estimates put the number above 100, primarily in midsize and smaller markets.

Comcast says it may increase share buyback

Comcast Corp. is considering increasing its share buyback plan by more than 80 percent, boosting investor returns as it completes its $45 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable Inc. As the deal undergoes regulatory review in the coming weeks, Comcast executives have been evaluating whether to add $2.5 billion to the current plan for $3 billion in buybacks, Chief Financial Officer Michael Angelakis said in an interview. A planned sale of assets to complete the deal may produce cash for even more repurchases, he said. Time Warner Cable suspended its own repurchase program of about $2.5 billion after agreeing to Comcast’s buyout proposal in February.

BlackBerry wins order against keyboard maker

Troubled smartphone maker BlackBerry has won an early round in its legal battle against an iPhone keyboard made by a start-up co-founded by “American Idol” host Ryan Seacrest. A court order bans Seacrest’s company, Typo Products, from selling its iPhone keyboard in the U.S. while BlackBerry Ltd. proceeds with a patent infringement case against the product. BlackBerry contends Typo Products ripped off the design from the physical keyboards used for typing on BlackBerry’s phones. U.S. District Judge William Orrick in San Francisco ruled that BlackBerry is likely to prove its claims and would be damaged if the sales of the iPhone keyboard were allowed to continue. Typo Products said it plans to appeal Orrick’s ruling.

Macy’s executive named company president

Macy’s Inc. has elected its chief merchandising officer as president of the company. The department store operator said that Jeffrey Gennette will take over in his new role immediately. The 52-year-old executive has been Macy’s chief merchandising officer since 2009 and held several leadership positions before that. Terry Lundgren, Macy’s chairman and CEO, previously handled the duties of president as well. Gennette will continue to oversee merchandising.

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