Busi­ness

The Washington Post Sunday - - TAKING STOCK -

Wal­greens Boots Al­liance

scrapped its takeover of ri­val Rite Aid and in­stead will buy a smaller piece of the drug­store chain af­ter the orig­i­nal deal was doomed by U.S. an­titrust prob­lems. The agree­ment ends a saga that dragged on for more than a yearand-a-half as the com­pa­nies strug­gled to get ap­proval from reg­u­la­tors. Wal­greens will pay $5.18 bil­lion to buy 2,186 stores, leav­ing Rite Aid as a re­gional chain. Merck, a phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal giant, was among dozens of busi­nesses af­fected by a sprawling cy­ber­at­tack, with vic­tims across the globe fac­ing de­mands to hand over a ran­som or have their com­puter net­works re­main locked and in­ac­ces­si­ble. The wide­spread in­tru­sion that hit the New Jersey-based drug com­pany was sim­i­lar to a re­cent, mas­sive ran­somware at­tack that de­ployed a virus dubbed Wan­naCry. The ex­tent of the Merck hack was not yet known. UPS told its more than 70,000 nonunion work­ers that the com­pany plans to freeze their pen­sions, join­ing the ranks of other large em­ploy­ers that are mov­ing away from the de­fined ben­e­fit plans. As of De­cem­ber, UPS was about $7 bil­lion short of the $25.3 bil­lion needed to pay fu­ture ben­e­fits for work­ers in that plan, a spokesman said. An­them’s de­ci­sion to stop of­fer­ing Af­ford­able Care Act plans in much of Ne­vada will leave large parts of the state with­out op­tions on the health­care law’s ex­changes. The in­surer, a one-time Oba­macare stal­wart, has ac­cel­er­ated its re­treat in re­cent weeks, partly blam­ing the un­cer­tain fate of the law for mak­ing it dif­fi­cult to come up with plans and cal­cu­late pre­mi­ums.

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