AbbVie to buy Pharmacyclics for $21 billion

AbbVie Inc. agreed to buy Pharmacyclics Inc. in a deal that gives it control of a blockbuster blood cancer therapy and values the smaller drugmaker at $21 billion. Under the terms of the transaction, AbbVie will pay $261.25 per share comprised of a mix of cash and AbbVie equity, the two companies said. The price is 39 percent higher than Pharmacyclics' closing price on Feb. 24, the day before reports that the company was considering a deal. With the purchase, AbbVie would gain Imbruvica, an oncology treatment whose sales are expected to grow to $3.56 billion in 2018. The drug is an easy-to-use pill that costs about $100,000 a year, avoids serious side effects of chemotherapy, and is approved for four blood cancer uses.

Toyota gives U.S. executives broader power

Toyota has announced sweeping management changes that consolidate power with North American CEO Jim Lentz and promote some U.S. executives to senior posts in Japan. Lentz, who previously led sales and marketing, will head Toyota's North American manufacturing operations when the changes take place April 1. North American engineering and research operations also will report to him. Toyota also promoted North American communications chief Julie Hamp to chief communications officer for the entire company. She's Toyota's first female managing officer. And it named Chris Reynolds a managing officer and chief legal officer for the whole company. He's the first African-American to hold the positions. Reynolds was general counsel for U.S. operations.

Online retailer Etsy files for $100M IPO

Online retailer Etsy is filing for an initial public offering of stock valued at up to $100 million. The Brooklyn-based company was founded in June 2005 as a marketplace for handmade goods and craft supplies. Originally called Indieco, it changed its name to Etsy a year later. It says it had $195.6 million in revenue in 2014, up 56 percent from 2013, and almost 20 million people made at least one purchase through Etsy last year. It reported losses of $15.2 million in 2014 and $800,000 in 2013. Etsy Inc. plans to list its shares on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol "ETSY."

Growth accelerates in service industry

U.S. services firms' activity rose at a slightly faster rate in February, powered by hotels, restaurants and wholesalers. The Institute for Supply Management said its services index rose to 56.9 in February, up from January's reading of 56.7. Any reading over 50 indicates expansion. The survey suggests further growth in employment and imports, as a strong hiring streak over the past year has bolstered consumer spending. The ISM is a trade group of purchasing managers. Its survey of services firms covers businesses that employ 90 percent of the American workforce, including retail, construction, health care and financial services companies.

ADP report finds strong February hiring

U.S. businesses added more than 200,000 jobs in February for the 13th straight month, a private survey found. It was the latest sign that strong hiring should boost the economy this year. Payroll processor ADP said companies added 212,000 jobs last month, a solid gain, though down from 250,000 in the previous month. January's figure was revised up from 213,000. The figures come just before Friday's government report on the labor market, which economists forecast will show an increase of 240,000 jobs, according to a survey by data provider FactSet. The unemployment rate is expected to fall to 5.6 percent from 5.7 percent. The ADP numbers cover only private businesses and sometimes diverge from the government's more comprehensive report, which includes government agencies.

Sling TV broadens offerings with AMC, IFC

Sling TV said it's adding AMC and its sister channel IFC to its $20-a-month basic package. AMC is home of "The Walking Dead," "Better Call Saul" and "Mad Men," while IFC is a commercial-supported channel featuring original comedies and indie movies. It's also rolling out a new commercial-free movie tier for $5 a month, built around EPIX and the AMC-owned Sundance Channel. The addition of AMC and IFC addresses a thin spot in the Sling TV lineup, which is traditional entertainment programming. The basic tier's other offerings in that category are TBS, TNT, El Rey and Cartoon Network. Similarly, the "Hollywood Extra" add-on addresses Sling's lack of commercial-free movie channels.

NEWS SERVICES