Company News: Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Twitter, Bank of America, Energy Future Holdings, Toyota

A $100 Billion Tax Play?

Pfizer confirmed that it offered up to $100 billion to buy British rival AstraZeneca. About 70 percent of its bid would be paid in shares. AstraZeneca said the offer was too low. If a deal goes through, Pfizer would gain control of a lucrative stable of cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular drugs. It would also provide a European beachhead that could help the New York-based company avoid hundreds of millions in U.S. taxes.

Twitter just can’t seem to crow loudly enough for Wall Street. The mini-messaging service said that in the recent quarter it added 14 million monthly active users, reversing a decline in its adoption rate. It also doubled revenue on stronger ad sales. Nevertheless, Twitter shares slid almost 14 percent after the report.

Bank of America was forced to freeze a plan to raise its dividend and buy back $4 billion in shares after realizing it had miscalculated how much capital it had on hand. The mistake involved complex financial products it inherited when it bought Merrill Lynch in 2009.

Energy Future Holdings, a big Texas utility, became the eighth-largest U.S. company to file for bankruptcy as it collapsed under a heap of debt and a bad bet that natural gas prices would rise. The company, formerly known as TXU, aims to emerge from protection in less than a year, but several of its biggest investors, including Goldman Sachs, have written off nearly all of their stakes.

Toyota Motor announced plans to move 4,000 U.S. employees to a new headquarters in Plano, Tex. The automaker wants to centralize its American marketing and finance functions and will also collect $40 million in Texas economic-development incentives. About 3,000 of the employees will relocate from California.

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