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Merger/restructuring news 

The Walt Disney Company reached an agreement this week to acquire Twenty-First Century Fox, Inc.’s film and television studios, cable entertainment networks and international TV businesses for $52.4 billion. These businesses include Twentieth Century Fox, Fox Searchlight Pictures, Fox 2000, Twentieth Century Fox Television, FX Productions, Fox21, FX Networks, National Geographic Partners, and Fox Sports Regional Networks. Prior to the merger, 21st Century Fox will spin off its news, sports and broadcast businesses as a new company. The new Fox will include Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, Fox Broadcasting Company, Fox Sports, Fox Television Stations Group, and sports cable networks FS1, FS2, Fox Deportes and Big Ten Network.

Aramark completed its $1.35 billion acquisition of Avendra, LLC on December 11, 2017. Avendra will continue to operate under its own name from its headquarters in Rockville, Maryland. 

Mallinckrodt plc completed its acquisition of Ocera Therapeutics, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, on December 11, 2017. As a result of the acquisition, Ocera has been merged into Mallinckrodt as its subsidiary, and Ocera shares will cease to be traded on NASDAQ. 

BASF SE and L1 Energy (LetterOne) agreed to merge their oil and gas businesses to create Wintershall DEA. The transaction is expected to be completed in the second half of 2018. 

Diplomat Pharmacy, Inc., as part of its business development initiatives to acquire National Pharmaceutical Services and LDI Integrated Pharmacy Services that it announced in November, has hired Chris Luthin as Executive Vice President of Finance, Pharmacy Benefit Management, and Integration. Luthin will oversee the integration process of these two companies and will perform additional financial reporting.


CEO changes

Spirit Airlines, Inc. announced its CEO succession plan this week, promoting Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Ted Christie to President, effective January 1, 2018. Christie will succeed Bob Fornaro as Chief Executive Officer on January 1, 2019.

Andreas W. “Andy” Mattes resigned as President and Chief Executive Officer of Diebold Nixdorf, Incorporated on December 13, 2017. The company’s board appointed Christopher Chapman, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, and Juergen Wunram, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, as interim Co-Presidents and Co-CEOs.

Duracell Company named Thom Lachman Chief Executive Officer, effective January 1, 2018. He replaces Angelo V. Pantaleo, who is taking on a new position as President and Chief Operating Officer of Marmon Holdings, Inc. Duracell and Marmon are both subsidiaries of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Lachman has served as President of North America since 2016 and will be succeeded in that role by Roberto “Bobby” Mendez.

ManTech International Corporation appointed Kevin M. Phillips, currently President and Chief Operating Officer, as its new Chief Executive Officer, effective January 1, 2018. He succeeds George J. Pedersen, who will remain with the company as Executive Chairman. 

Federal Agricultural Mortgage Corporation (Farmer Mac) fired its President and Chief Executive Officer Timothy L. Buzby on December 7, 2017, citing “violations of company policies unrelated to the company’s financial and business performance.” Lowell L. Junkins, Farmer Mac’s Chairman, was named to the additional role of acting President and CEO.

Stefan Sommer resigned as Chief Executive Officer of ZF Friedrichshafen AG on December 7, 2017. Konstantin Sauer, a member of ZF’s Board of Management, was appointed interim CEO. 


Former government officials joining the corporate world

Lockheed Martin Corporation appointed Jeh C. Johnson to its board of directors, effective January 1, 2018. Currently a partner at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, Johnson served as the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security from 2013 to 2017. Lockheed Martin generates most of its revenue from defense contracts. Not surprisingly, former defense officials are well represented on Lockheed’s board – four of the company’s ten directors are retired military leaders. Johnson’s appointment could signal that the company is looking to intensify its focus on winning Department of Homeland Security contracts.

William M. Farrow III, Director on the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, has been appointed to join the board of directors at WEC Energy Group, Inc. effective January 1, 2018.

Devin Mogler, a Legislative Assistant to U.S. Senator Joni K. Ernst, announced that he will join Green Plains Inc. as Vice President, Government Affairs. 



More Corporate Changes

Molina Healthcare, Inc. announced on December 13, 2017, that Dr. J. Mario Molina has stepped down from Molina Healthcare’s Board of Directors. Dr. Molina, son of Dr. C. David Molina, the founder of Molina Healthcare, served as the company’s Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer from 1996 to May of this year, in which reports indicated he had been ousted for what the company cited as poor financial performance. Molina Healthcare has indicated that Dr. Molina will be pursuing other opportunities, which earlier reporting has indicated may be in the purchasing and running of California’s clinics in underserved areas of the state, including his role as President of Golden Shore Medical Group.

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