Axios - Business
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New skin cancer drug to cost $156,000/yr

Andrew Harnik / AP

The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday approved Bavencio, a drug that treats a rare form of skin cancer called Merkel cell carcinoma. The breakthrough drug also received orphan drug status from the FDA, meaning it has seven years of market exclusivity.

Bavencio's list price: $13,000 per month, or $156,000 per year. A spokeswoman for EMD Serono, the maker of the drug, confirmed the list price to Axios. However, that price does not reflect rebates or discounts. The amount patients will pay depends on their health insurance.

In 2014, Pfizer and EMD Serono's parent company, the German-based Merck KGaA, agreed to jointly develop and sell the drug.

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Theranos offers shares to investors if they promise not to sue

Theranos

Theranos, the embattled blood-testing company, plans to offer additional shares to existing investors if they agree not to sue the company, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal citing anonymous sources. Theranos reportedly only has $200 million in cash left, but is already facing multiple lawsuits, including from former partner Walgreens and investor Partner Fund Management.

The deal: The shares would come from founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes' personal stake in the company, which would result in her losing her majority ownership. According to the Journal, early investors aren't included in the deal, and weren't even informed of it.

Murdoch exit: Theranos has reportedly agreed to buy back the stake Rupert Murdoch, the executive chairman of News Corp. and 21st Century Fox, purchased for $125 million in 2015.

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Valeant's ousted CEO made $72.5 million in 2016

Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP

Michael Pearson, former CEO of Valeant Pharmaceuticals, cashed in $72.5 million worth of stock and severance pay in 2016 even as he and the drug company were under federal investigation for accounting fraud and a billing scheme tied to a specialty pharmacy it secretly owned.

Pearson took home $60.5 million in stock and the rest in severance pay and other benefits, Valeant disclosed Thursday to the Securities and Exchange Commission. He also still used Valeant's corporate jet. Joseph Papa replaced Pearson last year, and Papa earned $62.7 million even though Valeant remains mired in trouble.

Valeant's stock has cratered since the middle of 2015, and it has become a pariah in the pharmaceutical industry. Pearson led Valeant since 2008, building the company up on the controversial practice of acquiring drugs and jacking up the prices.

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Sales of new homes at seven month high

Gene J. Puskar / AP

Sales of new homes were higher in February than they'd been in seven months, according to Bloomberg, beating forecasts by rising 6.1%.

Warm weather boosts new home purchases because it makes visiting construction sites a little more pleasant— but even accounting for the sunshine, the surge was bigger than expected.

Why it matters: February was a time of rising interest rates but the market wasn't slowed by higher borrowing costs. This is an acceleration of a bigger trend: purchases of new single-family homes in 2016 were the strongest in nine years.

What's next: Although cooler weather forecasts for March might cut into sales, easier lending standards might help maintain the increases.

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Cable operator WOW files for IPO

WideOpenWest, the country's sixth-largest cable operator, on Thursday filed for an IPO. The filing has a $100 million target raise, but that's most likely a placeholder figure. UBS and Credit Suisse are serving as underwriters.

Financials: WOW reports $26.3 million of earnings for 2016, compared to net losses in both 2014 and 2015. Its 2016 revenue was around $1.24 billion, up slightly from $1.22 billion the year earlier.

Backers: Crestview Partners acquired a "significant stake" in WOW back in 2015 from fellow private equity firm Avista Capital Partners, and both remain listed in the company cap table (no specific ownership stakes were listed).

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Trumpcare problems could hit tax reform — and stocks

Evan Vucci / AP

A big part of the "Trump rally" in stocks has been a consensus belief that corporate tax reform of some sort will occur in 2017. Now that belief is being severely tested.

The problem: Trump and Congressional Republicans put healthcare ahead of taxes, because doing the latter without a baseline from the former is mathematically nonsensical. Healthcare, however, is proving far more difficult to get done than the GOP expected, judging by the postponement of Thursday's planned House vote. Every day (or week) that passes without healthcare getting done is another day (or week) that tax reform has to wait, and Congress isn't actually in session all that often. The calendar is tyrannical.

The (bigger) problem: If Republicans can't agree on healthcare reform, it isn't entirely clear that taxes will be much easier. Even within the White House there is a major split over the proposed border adjustment tax, and that doesn't even address Trump's plans for a 15% corporate tax rate that could give deficit hawks a minor aneurysm. The White House calls Trump "the closer," but his struggles in the ninth on healthcare could raise new questions about his ability to deliver on tax promises. And tax reform is the air that a lot of current stock prices are floating upon.

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Disney CEO Bob Iger extends contract through 2019

Evan Agostini/ Invision via AP

Bob Iger — who's rumored to be eyeing a bid for the 2020 presidential election — has extended his contract with Walt Disney through July 2019, an extension of one year beyond his previously pushed back retirement date.

The company said in its Thursday release that the extra year reflects Iger's record of success, but also the lack of a clear successor. Iger has served as Disney's CEO for 11 years.

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Ford stock falls on poor earnings forecast

Cyril Zingaro/Keystone

Ford stock fell as much as 2.3% in trading Thursday morning, when the automaker announced that its profit this quarter could be as low as 36% below its previous estimate.

Data: Money.net; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon / Axios

What analysts say: U.S. car sales likely have likely reached their cycle peak, given rising automaker inventories and recent data showing that used car prices are falling. Expect car stocks this year to trail the pack.

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Amazon reportedly buys Middle Eastern e-commerce company

Ted S. Warren / AP

Amazon reportedly has agreed to acquire Souq, a Dubai-based e-commerce marketplace focused on Middle Eastern consumers. No financial terms have been disclosed, although the FT gives a sale price of around $650 million.

Why it's a big deal: Amazon not only gets some geographic expansion for it retail dominance, but this deal also reflects how it is becoming the purchaser of only resort for e-commerce startups that don't get an offer from less acquisitive Wal-Mart or Alibaba. It also would appear to be a major disappointment for Souq's later-stage investors, as the company reportedly was valued at $1 billion via a $275 million funding round 13 months ago. Backers on that deal included Tiger Global, Naspers, GIC and Standard Chartered.

Bottom line: "As China's e-commerce market has matured, dominated by homegrown giant Alibaba and hampered by slowing growth, Amazon, Alibaba and other e-commerce companies are looking to other parts of the world for growth." ― Daphne Howland

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MapR picks IPO bankers

MapR has picked Goldman Sachs to lead its upcoming IPO, Axios has learned. This comes on the heels of larger rival Cloudera hiring Morgan Stanley to lead its own offering, with the two enterprise Hadoop companies in a race to be first to market (or third, since Hortonworks has been public since 2014).

MapR is the smaller of the two companies, with a most recent post-money valuation of $500 million compared to around $4 billion for Cloudera. So, not surprisingly, it only is expected to raise between $150 million and $200 million in its IPO, compared to upwards of $400 million for Cloudera.

Both companies count Google among their investors ― Capital G for MapR and GV for Cloudera ― and neither has set filed a public S-1.