The U.S. Justice Department handed out its biggest penalty to date for contaminating the environment. Anadarko Petroleum is to pay $5.2 billion, the bulk of which will go to cleaning up sites contaminated by an energy company it bought in 2006. The company was sued by the federal government, 11 states and the Navajo nation; the plaintiffs had originally sought $25 billion. Anadarko’s fine is even bigger than the $4 billion slapped on BP for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Procter & Gamble sold three of its pet-food brands, including Iams, to Mars, a food group mostly known for its chocolate bars, for $2.9 billion. It was A.G. Lafley’s first big strategic move since returning to P & G as chief executive a year ago.
A federal jury in Louisiana ordered Takeda, a Japanese drug company, to pay $6 billion in punitive damages for covering up the risks of bladder cancer from a diabetes medicine. Eli Lilly, which marketed the treatment, was ordered to pay $3 billion. The combined $9 billion in damages shocked most observers, but it will probably be reduced substantially on appeal.
Ranbaxy, a troubled Indian maker of generic drugs, was bought by Sun Pharmaceutical in a $3.2 billion deal that will create India’s biggest drug company. Ranbaxy has come under investigation in the United States over its manufacturing processes, causing a headache for its biggest shareholder, Japan’s Daiichi Sankyo. Ranbaxy hopes to have found a remedy by selling itself to Sun Pharma.
Debate raged over whether Brendan Eich should have stepped down as Mozilla’s CEO because of a political contribution he made in 2008 in support of a ban on gay marriage in California. His appointment as chief executive of the firm behind the Firefox Web browser prompted a backlash from some gay-rights activists and he resigned after just two weeks in the job. On Monday, Mozilla appointed Chris Beard the interim chief executive.
An intriguing takeover battle in France reached a conclusion when Vivendi chose to sell its SFR mobile-telecoms business to Numericable, a cable operator, for $18.5 billion in cash. Backed by Patrick Drahi, a tech entrepreneur, Numericable was the preferred bidder, but that did not stop Bouygues, a blue-chip company that had the backing of the government and the unions, from sweetening its offer three times during the takeover talks.
A software flaw that could leave two-thirds of the world’s websites vulnerable to attack by hackers was uncovered by researchers and Google. The “Heartbleed” bug was discovered in the OpenSSL encryption software used by many companies and governments to make their websites more secure.
Microsoft issued its last security update for the Windows XP operating system, which it is not supporting any more because the software has nearly reached the grand old age of 13. Windows XP still powers 28 percent of the world’s PCs. The British and Dutch governments are paying Microsoft to extend support for XP in their IT departments, as are some firms and banks; 95 percent of the world’s ATMs run on the system.
Investor demand was very high for the first long-term sovereign bond from Greece in four years. Borrowing costs for periphery economies in the eurozone have declined sharply. Yields on Italian and Spanish 10-year government bonds are now around 3.2 percent, about half what they were a couple of years ago. The yield on existing Greek 10-year bonds dropped to below 6 percent last week; two years ago it was nearly 40 percent.
Voters in the Canadian province of Quebec handed a crushing defeat to the Parti Québécois, a separatist party that had started the provincial-election campaign ahead in the polls. The Liberals, led by Philippe Couillard, will lead a new majority government.
After seven years of talks, Japan signed a trade agreement with Australia, Japan’s first with a major agricultural exporter. But the pact reduces rather than eliminates many tariffs, and is less ambitious in scope than the Trans-Pacific Partnership that they and other countries are negotiating. America is pushing hard for Japan to open its markets wider to farm produce from overseas.