Apple’s green data centers and Honda’s CEO quits — 5 things to know today
Hello friends and Fortune readers.
U.S. stock futures are down slightly this morning after closing at record highs last week. European stocks rose in trading today as Greece negotiates a four-month extension on its bailout. Asian shares closed the day mostly higher.
The Nasdaq composite is near a 15-year high. The technology-rich index is moving closer to the psychologically-important 5,000 level, which it first rose above in March 2000.
Here’s what else you need to know about today.
1. Greece is pushing for extra time.
Greece has until the end of today to outline a list of reforms for its creditors in order to confirm a four-month bailout extension. The deadline follows talks last Friday where Greece petitioned for more time. The proposal still needs to be approved by the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and the European Commission. The troika, as it’s called, will give its final decision tomorrow. Any disagreement could again heighten fears of a Grexit.
2. Apple spends big for new data centers.
Apple (AAPL) is shelling out $1.93 billion to build two new data centers in Europe that will run on 100% renewable energy. One will be located in Athenry, Ireland, and another will be in Viborg, Denmark. The centers will provide online services such as iTunes, iMessages and Siri for customers in Europe and are expected to be up and running by 2017. The investment is Apple’s biggest to date in Europe, said CEO Tim Cook. The news comes on the heels of the tech giant’s $850 million investment in a solar energy farm that will power its new global headquarters.
3. Valeant pays $10.1 billion for Salix Pharmaceuticals.
Valeant (VRX) has acquired gastrointestinal drugmaker Salix (SLXP) in an all-cash deal worth over $10 billion — the most Valeant has ever shelled out for a purchase. Salix’s big name drug is Xifaxan, which helps treat irritable bowel syndrome. The deal comes on the heels of Valeant’s failed bid for Botox-maker Allergan (AGN) last year. During that time, the usually acquisitive Valeant slowed its buying, and CEO Michael Pearson said it would spend its funds to buy smaller, private companies this year. Pearson called Salix an “ideal strategic fit” for Valeant and plans to find more than $500 million in annual cost savings within six months.
4. Honda’s CEO is stepping down.
Honda Motor’s CEO Takanobu Ito said he will step down in June this year, handing the leadership title over to Takahiro Hachigo. The move took many by surprise. The Japanese automaker has been plagued by issues related to the recall of Takata airbags and its Fit hybrid model. So far, six deaths have been linked to faulty Takata airbags, all within Honda cars. Hachigo, who will become CEO at the company’s annual shareholder meeting this year, serves as Honda’s vice president of research and development in China and has been with Honda since 1982.
5. How’s the U.S. housing market doing in 2015?
January’s existing home sales numbers will be released today at 10 a.m. ET by the National Association of Realtors. Interest rates are near historical lows, which means the cost of financing a home purchase is more affordable. The national average for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is about 3.7%. Existing home sales have been trending higher over the past year, though January’s numbers are expected to come in weaker than many would hope. Analysts estimate total sales to be down 1.8% month-over-month 4.95 million in January, according to Bloomberg estimates.