The news at a glance
Apple: Steve Jobs’ liver transplant; Autos: GM finds a buyer for Saab; Pharmaceuticals: Novartis treatment approved; Investigations: Stanford indicted; Retailing: Eddie Bauer treks to bankruptcy court
Apple: Steve Jobs’ liver transplantApple CEO Steve Jobs, on medical leave from the company since January, underwent a liver transplant in April, said Yukari Iwatani Kane and Joann Lublin in The Wall Street Journal. He is still scheduled to return to work at the end of June, “though he may work part time initially.” Jobs, 54, was diagnosed in 2004 with a rare, treatable form of pancreatic cancer, which apparently had metastasized to his liver. Liver transplants for cancer sufferers are “controversial because livers are scarce and the surgery’s efficacy as a cure hasn’t been proved.” Jobs reportedly chose Tennessee “because its list of patients waiting for transplants is shorter than in many other states.”
Despite the initial fears of many Apple shareholders, the company has continued to prosper in Jobs’ absence, said Rex Crum in MarketWatch.com. This week the company reported that it sold more than 1 million of its latest-generation iPhone within three days of the device’s launch. “Sales weren’t hurt by Apple doubling the storage capacity of the iPhone 3G S while keeping prices the same as earlier iPhone models.”
Autos: GM finds a buyer for SaabGeneral Motors has chosen Koenigsegg, “a tiny sports car company,” as the buyer for its Saab line of cars, said The Economist. The Saab brand, which once “appealed to discerning buyers who valued understated Swedish design and innovative technology,” had been tarnished under GM’s ownership. Koenigsegg, though, “is run by people who should understand the unique quirkiness of Saab’s appeal.” Owned by Swedish financier Christian von Koenigsegg, it currently “makes fewer than 20 cars a year, at a price of more than $1.2 million apiece.”
Pharmaceuticals: Novartis treatment approvedThe Food and Drug Administration has approved Ilaris, a new drug developed by Novartis to treat a rare genetic disease, said Jeanne Whalen in The Wall Street Journal. Cryopyrin-associated periodic syndrome, or CAPS, “causes the body to overproduce interleukin-1, a protein tied to the immune system.” Only about 7,000 people worldwide suffer from CAPS, but despite Ilaris’ small market, it is “a big symbol of the way drug development is changing.” Rather than “bombarding” an illness with chemicals, Ilaris takes aim at the single gene that causes the painful disorder.
Investigations: Stanford indictedFinancier Allen Stanford was indicted last week for defrauding investors out of $7 billion, said Clifford Krauss in The New York Times. “The suspected fraud involved billions of dollars of certificates of deposit issued by Stanford International Bank, located on the Caribbean island of Antigua.” Although Stanford claimed the CDs were safe, conservative investments, authorities say that depositors’ money “was surreptitiously invested in real estate, other speculative investments, and into Stanford’s own operations.” Stanford has repeatedly declared his innocence.
Retailing: Eddie Bauer treks to bankruptcy courtOutdoor-clothing chain Eddie Bauer Holdings filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last week, said Steven Church in Bloomberg.com. The company, which hasn’t reported a profit in three years, got into trouble after it was acquired by catalogue retailer Spiegel in 1988 and expanded from 61 stores to 501. Buyout firm CCMP Capital has offered to buy Eddie Bauer for $202 million, intending to “operate the business as a going concern with little or no long-term debt.”