Good morning, friends and Fortune readers.
Merger Monday kicks off with a fairly large bang as Merck has agreed to buy Cubist Pharmaceuticals for about $9.5 billion, an all-cash deal with the assumption of more than $1 billion in debt. Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier called Cubist “a global leader in antibiotics” and touted the company’s “strong portfolio of both marketed and late-state pipeline medicines.” Meanwhile, Uber finds itself banned in another market — New Delhi this time — for an alleged license breach. Sony, things go from bad to worse, as the company’s PlayStation network has now been hacked. That comes not too long after the company’s film studio found itself the target of a cyberattack. And the Dow is about 40 points away from hitting the 18,000 level after rising to yet another record Friday after strong U.S. jobs numbers.
Here’s what you need to know about today.
1. Merck to pay about $9.5 billion for Cubist Pharmaceuticals
Merck (MRK) has agreed to acquire Cubist Pharmaceuticals in an all-cash deal announced Monday, scooping up a biopharmaceutical firm that has focused on antibiotics treatments meant to be used in hospitals and other acute-care settings. Cubist’s (CBST) biggest blockbuster is Cubicin, a treatment for skin infections that was launched in the U.S. in late 2003 and has been approved for usage in more than 50 countries. But Merck has said it is also buying Cubist for the company’s “late-stage pipeline of anti-infective medicines,” indicating it wants the firm before new treatments win potential approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
2. Gas prices hit a four-year low
The average price of a gallon of regular gasoline in the U.S. has tumbled 12 cents over the past two weeks, reaching a four year low, according to a national survey’s findings. The average price of regular gasoline stood at $2.72 per gallon, the lowest price since November 2010, according to a Reuters report that cited Lundberg Survey data. Some retail executives have struck a bullish tone about how lower gas prices could result in greater spending for the holiday season, though weak sales data for the Black Friday weekend suggests that the windfall hasn’t yet materialized.
3. Sony’s PlayStation network hacked
Sony, recently stung by a cyber attack at its film studio, is now facing a hack attack on its PlayStation system, which now has an error message that reads: “Page Not Found! It’s not you. It’s the Internet’s Fault.” Sony’s (SNE) PlayStation, used by millions of gamers, was nearly overwhelmed by a hacking attempt in August, which led the company to temporarily take the system offline. The PlayStation network was also stung by a cyberattack in early 2011. Sony is also trying to contain the fallout from a cyberattack at Sony Pictures, a leak that resulted in the piracy of several of the studio’s films.
4. Uber banned in New Delhi
Uber’s services have been suspended in New Delhi on grounds of “misleading customers” related to a purported license breach, as well as allegedly violating the rules of India’s 2006 Radio Taxi Scheme. The suspension also comes a few days after a female passenger accused one of Uber’s drivers of raping her, though authorities have said that the action against Uber’s services were not connected to the alleged attack.
5. Italy downgrade, weak data from Asia dent stocks
European stocks are reeling after a ratings downgrade for Italy and following weak economic reports out of China and Japan. Standard & Poor’s issued a downgrade on Italy’s credit rating, underscoring the limited progress made under Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s economic reforms, Reuters reports.