Quick view: Suntory closing in on deal to buy GSK drinks brands

Updated: Sep 7 2013, 01:51am hrs
Japans Suntory Beverage & Food is in advanced talks to buy GlaxoSmithKlines Lucozade and Ribena drinks for more than 1 billion pounds ($1.6 billion), in a deal that would pre-empt an auction of the brands. A deal could be announced in the next few days. Britains biggest drugmaker announced plans in April to sell Lucozade and Ribena, which are big sellers in Britain but lack global reach, as the company seeks to focus its consumer health business. The sale had been expected to attract interest from drinks companies and private equity houses, although Suntory was early on seen as a likely front-runner given its desire to build up its European drinks business after buying Orangina in 2009.

GSK cancer vaccine misses target in trial

An experimental cancer vaccine from GlaxoSmithKline failed to meet the first of two joint targets in a closely watched late-stage clinical trial, dealing a blow to the high-risk, high-reward project. Britains biggest drugmaker said on Thursday that it would continue with the Phase III trial of its MAGE-A3 therapeutic vaccine until the second of the targets, known as co-primary endpoints, is assessed. The vaccine is one of two particularly high-risk developmental GSK products believed by analysts to have the potential to become multibillion-dollar sellers. The other is a heart drug called Darapladib, designed to fight clogged arteries in a different way to statins. Unlike traditional preventative vaccines, MAGE-A3 is meant to treat people with established disease, where it is supposed to help their immune systems to fight back.

Glitch hits Nasdaq system at centre of trading outage

Nasdaq OMX Group said the system at the centre of the Nasdaq exchanges three-hour trading halt on August 22 had a six-minute outage on Wednesday for a small number of stock symbols, but the issue had been resolved and trading was not affected. The Securities Information Processor (SIP), which receives all traffic on quotes and orders for Nasdaq stocks, was down between 11:35 a.m. and 11:41 a.m. Eastern time for symbols from PC through SPZ, the exchange operator said in a note to traders. While Nasdaq said trading was not affected, exchange operator Direct Edge said it temporarily halted trading in Nasdaq-listed securities ranging from PBCP through ZZZZ between 11:43 a.m. and 11:48 a.m. The US Securities and Exchange Commission said it was in contact with Nasdaq and monitoring developments.

AT&T, America Movil, Sawiris sound out Telecom Italia

Egyptian tycoon Naguib Sawiris, AT&T and America Movil have made contact with the core Telecom Italia investors who want to sell their shares in the Italian group. The three have not expressed a formal interest in buying the stakes. The board of Telecom Italia is meeting on September 19 and its chairman Franco Bernabe is seeking a new investor ahead of the meeting. Shareholders have so far shot down two merger plans that Bernabe brought to the board. The first was a proposal by Sawiris last year to take a stake in Telecom Italia through a 3-billion-euro capital hike, while the second involved a merger with Hutchison Whampoas Italian mobile unit.