Walgreen, Express Scripts reach contract impasse

Walgreen Co. said that it is willing to walk away from more than $5 billion in annual revenue because pharmacy benefits manager Express Scripts doesn’t pay it enough to fill prescriptions.

If the companies don’t settle their dispute, people whose prescription benefits are handled by Express Scripts won’t be able to get their prescriptions filled at the biggest drugstore chain in the U.S., and Walgreen would give up about 7 percent of its annual revenue.

The announcement Tuesday follows a similar contract fight a year ago between Walgreen and CVS Caremark Corp. that was resolved less than two weeks after it became public.

The impasse with Express Scripts overshadowed news that Walgreen’s net income climbed 30 percent in its third fiscal quarter.

 

Barnes & Noble’s quarterly loss worse than expected

Barnes & Noble reported a deeper fourth-quarter loss than analysts expected Tuesday as the bookseller continues to invest in its e-book reader Nook and as liquidation sales by rival Borders hurt its revenue.

The results come as the largest U.S. specialty book retailer considers a $1 billion takeover offer from cable mogul John Malone’s Liberty Media Corp. Barnes & Noble declined to give 2012 guidance as it considers the bid.

Barnes & Noble has been spending heavily on its e-book readers and e-bookstore in an effort to stay afloat amid changes in how people read books and tough competition from discounters and online retailers that brought down its chief rival Borders Group. Borders filed for bankruptcy protection in February.

 

UK police make arrest in hacking attacks

A 19-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of involvement with cyber attacks on Sony and the CIA website, British police said Tuesday.

The arrest took place following a joint operation by its Internet crimes unit and the FBI, the Metropolitan Police said. The FBI declined to comment.

British police would not say if the suspect was tied to the Lulz Security hacking collective, which has claimed responsibility for recent high-profile attacks, but confirmed that a computer seized in the operation will be examined for Sony data. Police declined to identify the suspect because he has not been charged with a crime.

Lulz had boasted of successfully hacking Sony in addition to subsequent attacks on the CIA web page and the U.S. Senate computer system. The hackers recently called for “war” on governments that control the Internet.

Lulz appeared dismissive of the arrest, saying on Twitter that it used the arrested man’s server, but that the man is not part of the group.

 

After offer, Hulu considers putting itself up for sale

Online video service Hulu is exploring putting itself up for sale after receiving an unsolicited takeover offer, a person familiar with the matter said Tuesday.

The offer was large enough to make Hulu’s board review the deal and consider seeking other potential buyers, said the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the discussions are confidential. The person would not disclose the offer amount or bidder.

Hulu has become one of the biggest purveyors of television shows and movies on the Internet through its free site and via an $8-per-month subscription plan that gives users a deeper library of shows from ABC, Fox and NBC.

In February, CEO Jason Kilar said Hulu will have 1 million paying customers by the end of the year and generate nearly $500 million in revenue. He has said the company is profitable.

Hulu is also jointly owned by The Walt Disney Co., Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., and Providence Equity Partners. Hulu is now preparing to hire bankers to start a formal search process, the person said.