Skip to Content

Facebook at work and Japan in recession — 5 things to know today

Hello, friends and Fortune readers.

Stocks look set to pull back this morning, reacting to negative news out of Asia — Japan’s economy has entered a recession. The Nikkei dropped some 3 percent on the news. In other business stories of note, talks between Hasbro (HAS) and Dreamworks (DW) have broken down, plus we have news from GM (GM) on the fourth anniversary of the company’s latest IPO, and earnings will come this afternoon from hipster mecca Urban Outfitters (URBN). Here’s what else you need to know today.

1. A big oil deal

Halliburton (HAL) — perhaps best known for once employing former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney — said it will acquire fellow oil services firm Baker Hughes (BHI) in a deal valued at $34.6 billion. Shares of Baker Hughes are way up in pre-market trading, while Halliburton’s shares are down.

2. Facebook at work could soon be acceptable

Is Facebook (FB) trying to eat LinkedIn’s (LNKD) lunch? It certainly seems so, with reports out that Mark Zuckerberg’s social media giant is secretly developing a site for professional use. It will likely look like Facebook, but will be separate from your personal profile — so you can friend your boss without giving him or her access to pictures of you at a frat party during your freshman year of college.

3. The Pfizer-AstraZeneca deal may finally be dead

For months, investment bankers have salivated over the idea of a deal between U.S. company Pfizer (PFE) and British firm AstraZeneca. Well, it may officially be a dream unrealized, because Pfizer has reached a deal with German firm Merck for the development of cancer drugs, meaning that Pfizer doesn’t need AstraZeneca’s products any more.

4. Japan’s economy is on the slide

There’s bad news coming out of Japan, with the Asian country’s economy falling into an unexpected recession. It’s thought that the news could lead Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to push back a sales tax hike and possibly call for elections two years before voters are set to head for the polls.

5. Happy anniversary, GM!

Four years ago today, General Motors IPO-ed — again. The debut, at the time the biggest ever, raised $20.1 billion as the U.S. began to get out of the company it bailed out during the financial crisis. In other GM news, the automaker announced today that drivers who think they are eligible for the firm’s ignition switch recall compensation plan are being given an extra month to file their claims.