For Friday, July 22, 2011
POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Jul 22, 2011
The top two U.S. companies managing prescription drug benefits are uniting in a $29.1 billion deal they say will help achieve key goals of the health care overhaul: reining in costs and improving patients’ health.
Express Scripts Inc. announced an agreement Thursday to buy larger rival Medco Health Solutions Inc. Together they would handle the prescriptions of about 135 million people, more than 1 in 3 Americans.
That will give them even more clout in demanding discounts from drugmakers, who are dealing with falling or stagnant revenue as an unprecedented number of blockbuster drugs taken daily by millions is getting cheaper generic competition.
WASHINGTON » Banking regulators refused to commit to releasing details of their investigations into illegal foreclosure practices by the nation’s largest banks.
Appearing before a Senate panel Thursday, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and Acting Comptroller of the Currency John Walsh said they had not decided whether to release reports on illegal practices by individual banks.
Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J, had pressed them to release the reports, banks’ individual action plans and agreements with the consultants that investigated the banks. Menendez cited a report by The Associated Press this week that said banks are continuing to foreclose without doing the necessary paperwork, eight months after they had promised to stop.
SAN FRANCISCO » Microsoft Corp. reported record fourth-quarter revenue Thursday, helped by strong sales of its Office software suite.
But revenue from the division that includes Microsoft’s Windows operating system fell 1 percent from the same time last year, marking the third straight quarter of decline. The drop suggests that consumers are buying fewer computers that use Microsoft’s software. It might also indicate that more consumers are moving to tablet computers rather than upgrading their existing laptop and desktop computers.
Total revenue for the fiscal fourth quarter rose 8 percent from last year to $17.4 billion, higher than the $17.2 billion that analysts polled by FactSet expected.
PURCHASE, New York » PepsiCo Inc.’s earnings report told two familiar story lines Thursday.
One is of an American company benefiting from strong growth in new markets worldwide at a time when U.S. customers continue to cut back on spending. The other is of a firm raising prices on those same customers during a slow economic recovery to keep up with higher costs for ingredients, fuel and aluminum.
The maker of such products as Mountain Dew, Diet Pepsi and Lay’s potato chips said revenue for Asia, the Middle East and Africa grew 17 percent, and revenue for Latin American food grew 18 percent. Meanwhile, revenue for Frito-Lay snacks in North America grew 3 percent, and revenue for Quaker oatmeal products in North America was flat.
Apple Inc., with $76.2 billion in cash and securities on its books, is considering making a bid for the Hulu online video service, two people with knowledge of the auction told Bloomberg News.
Apple, the world’s second-most-valuable company, is in early talks that may lead to an offer for Hulu, said the people, who weren’t authorized to speak publicly.
Hulu would give Apple a new subscription service and represent a possible challenge to Netflix Inc. Hulu’s media- company owners, Walt Disney Co., News Corp. and Comcast Corp.’s NBC Universal, are offering suitors a five-year extension of program rights, including two years of exclusive access, people familiar with the matter said earlier this week.
“Part of the ecosystem of Apple’s future is to include more video,” said Scott Sutherland, Wedbush Securities Inc. analyst in San Francisco who recommends buying the stock.
Hulu’s price tag could exceed $2 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg and SNL Kagan.
SHIP AHOY!Today’s ship arrivals and departures:
Hawaii National Bank has promoted Kyle Kettle to assistant vice president and loan officer of its corporate banking department. He joined the bank in 2008 as a management trainee and has also served as a loan assistant at the bank’s airport branch and most recently as a loan officer at the main branch.
Hawaii Pacific University has named William “Bill” Kline as interim vice president and chief financial officer, filling the position left by the departure of Ken Uemura. His experience in corporate finance includes being chief financial officer at Schiller International University and a former partner at KPMG in Philadelphia; Tulsa, Okla.; Boston; Budapest, Hungary; and Miami.
HTH Corp. has named Ed Saunders director of rooms for the Pacific Beach Hotel. He started as a bellman in 1985 and has also served in numerous management positions at the Pagoda, including general manager in 2003.
Hoakalei Charities and Haseko recently presented a $16,814.80 check to the consul general of Japan, proceeds that were generated from two Friendship Golf Tournaments. The award supported the Japanese Red Cross Society’s disaster relief efforts in Japan.