Company News: Novartis, GlaxoSmithKline, Eli Lilly, Ford, Skechers, Netflix, Harley-Davidson

The $23 Billion Drug Swap

• A set of deals among several leading pharma companies is heightening the rivalry between the world’s top cancer drugmakers. Novartis agreed to buy GlaxoSmithKline’s line of cancer treatments for up to $16 billion, while selling it a vaccine business for as much as $7.1 billion. The deal could boost oncology sales for Novartis by almost 40 percent to $11.2 billion a year by 2018. The Swiss drug giant is No. 2 in market share for cancer drugs after Roche. Novartis and GSK also will combine their over-the-counter units, which make everything from pain relievers to toothpaste. And Novartis is selling its animal health unit to Eli Lilly for $5.4 billion as it seeks a buyer for its flu vaccines.

• Two people with knowledge of Ford Motor’s succession plan say the company will name COO Mark Fields to its top job later this year, with CEO Alan Mulally departing sooner than expected. Fields joined Ford in 1989 shortly after earning an MBA from Harvard.

• Runner Meb Keflezighi won this year’s Boston Marathon with help from a pair of Skechers. It was a victory for the shoemaker as it chases Nike and Adidas in high-performance footwear. Keflezighi, who’s had a sponsorship deal with Skechers since 2011, helped design the shoe he wore.

Netflix will raise prices for new streaming video subscribers by $1 to $2 a month later this quarter. Also, customers with digital video recording services will soon be able to store their streamed programs.

Harley-Davidson roared through the harsh U.S. winter, reporting a 19 percent jump in first-quarter profit as new models took off abroad. Sales outside the U.S. rose 11 percent, vs. 3 percent domestically.

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