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Valeant to buy Bausch & Lomb

BY Alaric DeArment

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Canadian drug maker Valeant Pharmaceuticals International is buying U.S.-based Bausch & Lomb Holdings for $8.7 billion, the companies said Monday.

Bausch & Lomb makes prescription and over-the-counter eye health products, as well as contact lenses and solutions and eye-surgery equipment.

"Bausch & Lomb’s world-renowned brand, comprehensive portfolio of leading eye-care products and promising late-stage pipeline are an ideal strategic fit for our current ophthalmology business, and we are strongly committed to continuing to build a sustainable eye-health business," Valeant chairman and CEO J. Michael Pearson said. "With this transaction, Valeant will be a worldwide leader in both dermatology and eye health."

Valeant’s all-cash offer for the company includes $4.5 billion to an investor group led by Warburg Pincus and $4.2 billion to pay Bausch & Lomb’s outstanding debt.

In other news, the Food and Drug Administration declined to approve an experimental drug made by Valeant for the fungal nail infection onychomycosis. The drug maker announced Tuesday that it received a complete-response letter from the FDA for efinaconazole, meaning that the agency had finished reviewing its application for the drug, but questions about its chemistry, manufacturing and controls remained that precluded approval.

 

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Dollar Tree reports record Q1 results

BY Jason Owen

CHESAPEAKE, Va. — Dollar Tree Inc. reported consolidated net sales for the first quarter, which ended on May 4, of a record $1.87 billion, an 8.3% increase compared with $1.72 billion reported for the quarter ended April 28, 2012, the company stated today. Comparable store sales increased 2.1%, on top of a 5.6% increase for the first quarter 2012.

Earnings per diluted share for the first quarter were $0.59, an 18.0% increase compared to earnings per diluted share of $0.50 reported for the first quarter 2012.

"I am pleased with the company’s first-quarter performance," said president and CEO Bob Sasser. "Sales continued to grow, our earnings per share increased by 18% and we achieved the highest first-quarter operating margin in the Company¹s history. Our stores are executing at a high level and we are well positioned with great assortments and the best values ever for Memorial Day, graduation and an exciting summer selling season."

Operating margin for the quarter was 11.6%, a 70 basis point improvement from the 10.9% operating margin in the first quarter 2012. Gross margin increased 20 basis points, to 35.2% compared with 35.0% in the first quarter 2012. Selling, general and administrative expenses improved 50 basis points to 23.6% compared with 24.1% in the first quarter last year.

Cash and cash equivalents at quarter-end totaled $383.3 million, compared with $382.3 million at the end of the first quarter 2012. During the first quarter, the Company repurchased 1.5 million shares for $68.4 million, and ended the quarter with $791.3 million remaining on its share repurchase authorization.

The Company continues to expand. During the first quarter, Dollar Tree opened 94 stores, closed 2 stores, and expanded or relocated 16 stores. Retail selling square footage increased 7.0% compared to a year ago, to 41.2 million square feet

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Jergens promotes sunless tanner as study finds many still skipping sunscreen despite risks

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK — Looking to spread the word about the dangers of sun exposure and recommit to taking preventive measures like wearing sunscreen, Jergens is promoting its Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer, which has been reformulated with odor-reducing technology.

According to findings recently presented by researchers at Yale University, more than one-quarter of people who have had melanoma say they never use sunscreen. What’s more, 2% admit they have used a tanning bed in the last year. These numbers aren’t much better than the general population: Just 17% of adults report always wearing sunscreen, the manufacturer stated.

Jergens Natural Glow is available at food, drug and mass retailers and costs $8.99.
 

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