Monday Minute – 11/23/2015

Pfizer and Allergan combine in biggest drug merger ever


In one of the biggest corporate deals ever, Pfizer and Allergan announced Monday that they would combine to create the world’s largest pharmaceutical giant. The merger, which still needs regulatory approval, would bring blockbuster drugs like Pfizer’s Lyrica, Enbrel and Viagra and Allergan’s Botox and Restasis under one corporate roof.

The deal would move New York-based Pfizer (PFE) to Ireland — making it the latest merger that will let a U.S. company slash its federal corporate tax bill. Pfizer has been openly critical of the U.S. corporate tax rate. Last year, when it tried unsuccessfully to acquire British drug maker AstraZeneca, Pfizer didn’t hide the fact that tax savings were one of the main drivers.

Mergers like Pfizer-Allergan are known as tax inversions. In such deals, bigger American companies buy smaller foreign ones and then switch their headquarters (at least on paper) to the location of the smaller company.

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Bitwalking dollars: Digital currency pays people to walk


A digital crypto-currency has launched that is generated by human movement.

Bitwalking dollars will be earned by walking, unlike other digital currencies such as Bitcoins that are “mined” by computers. A phone application counts and verifies users’ steps, with walkers earning approximately 1 BW$ for about 10,000 steps (about five miles).

The global scheme plans to partner with sportswear brands, health services, health insurance firms, environmental groups, and potentially advertisers who could be offered unique insights into the audiences they are targeting.

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Americans say cash is king for holiday shopping


Nothing brings consumers out like holiday shopping, and this year Americans are expected to spend an average of $805.65, according to the National Retail Federation. But as shoppers load up for a bright Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, something retailers may not be hearing so much are the words “charge it.”

According to a new study by, cash will be the holiday king, as people overwhelmingly say they plan to pay for things as they get them rather than charge them and pay later (most likely with interest).

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Currency Spoofing Is Said to Be New York’s Latest Target

By KERI GEIGER, Bloomberg Business

The New York attorney general is investigating possible manipulation in foreign-exchange trading, according to a person familiar with the matter, aiming more scrutiny at a market already tainted by scandals that have led to billions of dollars in fines.

The investigation centers on brokers who may be placing fake orders, a technique sometimes called spoofing, according to the person. These practices are also referred to as ghosting, because they create the impression of activity that isn’t really there.

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