Business Briefs – September 20, 2016

Report Finds Racial Wage Gap Widest in Nearly 4 Decades

WASHINGTON (AP) – As wages for American workers have stagnated for more than a generation, the income gap between black and white workers has widened, and discrimination is the main reason for the persisting disparity, according to a new report.

The Economic Policy Institute also found that young black women are being hit the hardest. This gap remains even after controlling for factors like education, experience, or geography.

The wage gap today is “worse now than it was 36 years ago,” said Valerie Wilson, director of the liberal-leaning think tank’s Program on Race, Ethnicity and the Economy.

FedEx Beats Street 1Q Forecasts

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) – FedEx Corp. on Tuesday reported fiscal first-quarter profit of $715 million.

The company earned $2.65 per share and its earnings, adjusted for restructuring costs and amortization costs, were $2.90 per share. The results topped Wall Street expectations.

The average estimate of seven analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of $2.79 per share.

The package delivery company posted revenue of $14.66 billion in the period, also beating market forecasts.

Monsanto, Bayer Officials Defend Proposed $66 Billion Merger

WASHINGTON (AP) – Top officials for Monsanto and Bayer defended their proposed $66 billion merger before skeptical senators on Tuesday, insisting that the deal would lead to greater investments in technology that could help American farmers.

Monsanto, the American seed and weed-killer, and Bayer, the German medicine and farm-chemical maker, responded to concerns from Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley, the Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Grassley warned that consolidation and competition in the U.S. seed and agrochemical industry could hurt American farmers who are already dealing with an economic downturn.

Allergan Targets Liver Disease Drugs With Tobira Acquisition

NEW YORK (AP) – Allergan is bulking up its drug pipeline by acquiring Tobira Therapeutics Inc. and two potential liver disease treatments in a deal that could be worth almost $1.7 billion.

Tobira is testing two treatments for non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, a disease that triggers inflammation that can lead to cirrhosis, cancer and eventual liver failure.

Allergan PLC said Tuesday it will pay $28.35 in cash up front for each Tobira share plus up to $49.84 in contingent value rights, depending on whether certain development, regulatory and commercial milestones are met.

West Virginia AG Subpoenas Mylan Over EpiPen Price Hike

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) – West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey has subpoenaed drug company Mylan NV in an investigation over drastic price hikes for its EpiPen.

Morrisey announced Tuesday that he filed a petition to force Mylan to produce documents from a subpoena from several weeks ago. His office is seeking evidence of possible state antitrust and Medicaid rebate violations through the subpoena.

EpiPen prices have climbed 500 percent since 2007. The company has announced it will launch a generic version that costs $300.