Business Briefs – May 16, 2016

 Pfizer Buying Skin Drug Maker Anacor for $5.2 Billion

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) – Pfizer is fortifying its key immunology and inflammation drug business, snapping up a small maker of skin disorder treatments for about $5.2 billion, weeks after the U.S. Treasury Department torpedoed Pfizer’s planned $160 billion deal for Allergan PLC.

Pfizer Inc.’s agreement Monday to acquire Anacor Pharmaceuticals Inc. is the biggest U.S.-based drugmaker’s latest move in a years-long struggle to accelerate growth.

With Palo Alto, California-based Anacor, Pfizer gains an experimental eczema treatment that could be approved by the Food and Drug Administration by next January, plus U.S. rights to topical toenail fungus treatment Kerydin and a portfolio of other drugs in early testing.

Range Resources Buys Memorial Resource for $3.3 Billion

NEW YORK (AP) – Range Resources will buy rival natural gas producer Memorial Resource Development for about $3.3 billion to expand its range in the East and in the Gulf.

Shareholders of Memorial Resources, based in Houston, will receive 0.375 shares of Range Resources stock for each of their shares. The all-stock deal is valued at about $15.75 per share, marking a 17 percent premium to its closing price Friday.

Range Resources will also assume $1.1 billion in debt.

U.S. Reveals How Much Treasury Debt Saudi Arabia Owns

WASHINGTON (AP) – Foreign holdings of U.S. Treasury securities rose in March, with the Treasury Department revealing for the first time in four decades how much Saudi Arabia owns.

In its latest report, Treasury said Monday that total holdings increased 0.8 percent to a record $6.29 trillion. For the first time since 1974, when the government began releasing data on foreign ownership of Treasury securities, the report broke out ownership for specific countries that it had always lumped together such as “oil exporting nations” and “Caribbean banking centers.”

The report showed that Saudi Arabia in March held $116.8 billion in Treasury debt, down 2.5 percent from February.

Report Says Amazon to Expand Its Store-Brand Offerings

NEW YORK (AP) – Amazon is planning to expand the store-brand items it sells to new categories including food and household products, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal.

The new products could include nuts and spices and other consumer goods such as diapers and laundry detergent.

The Wall Street Journal report cites unnamed people familiar with the matter. Amazon.com Inc. declined to comment.

Amazon already sells an array of private-label products, or products designed by a third-party manufacturer and sold under a retailer’s name — usually cheaper than name-brand products — but food would be a new category.