Valeant Pharmaceuticals. Picture: REUTERS/BRENDAN MCDERMID
Valeant Pharmaceuticals. Picture: REUTERS/BRENDAN MCDERMID

Valeant shares plunge on SEC probe

NEW YORK — Shares in Valeant Pharmaceuticals International fell as much as 21% on Monday after the drug maker revealed that it was under investigation by the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

"Valeant confirms that it has several ongoing investigations, including investigations by the US Attorney’s Offices for Massachusetts and the Southern District of New York, the SEC, and Congress," spokeswoman Laurie Little said.

The company’s US-traded shares fell 18.4% to close at $65.80 per share.

The SEC probe is separate from an existing investigation of a company purchased last year by Valeant, Salix Pharmaceuticals, according to a person familiar with the matter.

News of the probe came a day after the Canadian company cancelled the release of fourth-quarter earnings, withdrew 2016 financial guidance and said its CEO had returned from medical leave.


News Corp settles antitrust case for $280m

NEW YORK — Media group News Corp agreed to pay $280m on Monday to settle accusations brought by consumer packaged goods companies that it has a monopoly on in-store advertising in the US.

The settlement ended a trial in the class action lawsuit that began the same day in a New York courtroom.

News America Marketing, a News Corp subsidiary, has faced accusations since 2012 from companies such as Dial and Kraft Foods — now Kraft Heinz — that it abused its dominant position for in-store advertising that includes coupon dispensers and electronic signs.

News Corp said News America Marketing had "consistently denied any wrongdoing in this case", which involves allegations that date back to 1997. It said the settlement was "in the best interests of our company and our stockholders".


Airbus expects no serious headwinds from China’s slowdown

BEIJING — Airbus said it expected China’s aviation market, the world’s second-largest, to come out relatively unscathed from the country’s economic slowdown and provide demand for 5,400 new aircraft over the next 20 years.

The European aircraft manufacturer was also considering boosting its bets on China, and was studying whether it should increase the production rate there at its A320 assembly line, Airbus China chief Eric Chen told a media briefing in Beijing.


AstraZeneca sells another drug, for $70m

LONDON — AstraZeneca has sold rights to a noncore drug to a unit of Kyowa Hakko Kirin for an upfront payment of $70m, a day after getting $500m for two ageing heart medicines.

The British-based drug maker has been divesting peripheral products to help pay the bills as it invests in new medicines, while taking a profit hit from the loss of patent protection on a raft of former blockbusters.

Such divestments, or "externalisation" deals, contributed $1.1bn to revenue last year and the company has said the figure is likely to be higher in 2016.

Under the latest deal, Kyowa subsidiary ProStrakan is acquiring European rights to Moventig, used to treat opioid-induced constipation, AstraZeneca said on Tuesday.