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Nokia eyes Alcatel-Lucent, and IBM jumps into healthcare — 5 things to know today

April 14, 2015, 12:13 PM UTC

Hello friends and Fortune readers.

U.S. stock futures are little changed this morning, while European shares are trading down. Asian markets closed mixed for the day.

Investors are sifting through a handful of earnings reports this morning from the likes of JPMorgan Chase ( JPM), which reported earnings and revenue that beat expectations, Wells Fargo (WFC), and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ).

In other news, consumer products giant Procter & Gamble (PG) appears to be laying the groundwork for CEO A.G. Lafley to leave the company, perhaps as soon as this summer, according to a report.

Here’s what else you need to know about today.

1. Nokia goes after Alcatel-Lucent.

Nokia (NOK), the Finland-based telecom equipment maker, is in talks to buy French rival Alcatel-Lucent (ALU), which would unite the industry’s two weakest competitors. The companies said they were in “advanced discussions,” but cautioned that the deal could still fall apart. Alcatel’s market value is about 11 billion euros based on Monday’s closing price. The combination would streamline products and geographies, while also cutting costs, giving the group the heft to catch up to market leaders Sweden’s Ericsson (ERIC) and China’s Huawei.

2. Next up in earnings season: J.P. Morgan and Intel.

JPMorgan Chase reported its first quarter earnings this morning ahead of the opening bell. The bank reported earnings of $1.45 a share, surpassing economists’ consensus estimates of $1.38 a share. The first quarter of last year had earnings per share of $1.28. The bank has been fighting pressure to break itself into separate units as legal expenses weighed on its stock and new capital requirements have reigned in profits. JPMorgan received the Federal Reserve’s approval for its 2015 capital plan in March.

Intel (INTC), the primary supplier of PC processor chips, will report its quarterly earnings after the market close. Analysts expect it to post earnings per share of 41 cents, compared with 38 cents a share a year earlier. Intel cut its first-quarter revenue guidance by almost $1 billion last month, citing declining demand among desktop computer makers.

3. Rakuten is eyeing PopSugar.

Rakuten is looking to shell out $580 million to buy the online content company PopSugar. The deal could happen within the next couple of weeks, according to a report by TechCrunch. PopSugar gets about 41 million unique visitors a month and would give Rakuten a hand in the U.S. market. The Japan-based company has a hand in lots of markets, from banking and e-commerce to smartphones and a professional Japanese baseball team. The purchase price would surpass the $300 million AOL (AOL) spent to acquire the Huffington Post and its 117 million unique visitors in 2011.

4. Toyota sets up shop in Mexico.

Toyota Motor Company (TM) will spend nearly $1 billion to open its first passenger-car factory in Mexico, ending its self-imposed three-year freeze on new assembly plants, reports Bloomberg News. The world’s largest carmaker is expected to reveal more details Wednesday in Mexico. The company will be able to rollout 200,000 Corolla cars each year from the plant in Guanajuato and will create 2,400 direct jobs, reports Reuters. Toyota had stopped building new plants after the company over-expanded prior to the financial crisis, which led to its first annual profit loss in 59 years.
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5. IBM goes big into healthcare.

IBM (IBM) is taking its powerful Watson computing technology and converting it into a cloud service that will help drive the collection and sharing of health data. IBM Watson Health, as the larger initiative is called, will partner with Apple (AAPL), Johnson & Johnson, and Medtronic (MDT) to use this new Watson Health Cloud as the foundation for their medical intelligence platforms, helping to collect and disseminate the huge amounts of health data. “We are going into the healthcare business in a big way,” IBM Senior Vice President John Kelly told Fortune. “We all recognize that outcomes aren’t what we hope for. Costs are skyrocketing. On the other side, so much data is collected […] we want to provide better insights, for better outcomes.”
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