Papers: Priceline CEO resigns following employee relationship investigation

Also featured: Amazon.com, Medivation, Gilead Sciences and Tobacco

William Shatner has made a number of adverts for Priceline

Priceline Group Inc (NASDAQ:PCLN) chief executive Darren Huston has resigned from the company after he was found to have been having a relationship with an employee.

Huston, who had served as Priceline Group CEO since January 2014, resigned after an internal investigation, conducted by independent board members, into a personal relationship that Huston had with another employee not under his direct supervision.

Huston's departure is effective immediately, the company said, and former CEO and current Chairman Jeffery Boyd will serve as interim CEO and president of The Priceline Group while the board looks for a successor.

The report is in USA Today, which also writes Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN) was set to jump into place as the S&P 500's seventh-largest company, leapfrogging GE and Johnson & Johnson, as its stock surged on better-than-forecast earnings.

With that jump, five of the top seven largest U.S. public companies would now be tech stocks.

It comes after the company released its latest quarterly report showing earnings per diluted share were US$1.07, far exceeding the 59 cents per share expected. Sales for the Seattle-based company were US$29.1bn, up 28% and also topping analysts' forecasts of US$28bn.

Meanwhile, over at the Wall Street Journal, the paper reports Sanofi SA chief executive Olivier Brandicourt hopes to begin negotiations with Medivation Inc (NASDAQ:MDVN).

Medivation, a Nasdaq-listed company that focuses on hard-to-treat cancers, rebuffed a recent takeover approach by the French drugmaker, so Mrandicourt went public with an unsolicited offer worth $9.3 billion for the U.S. biotech firm.

Also in the WSJ, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, the largest pension fund by assets in the U.S., said last week it may reconsider a decision it made 16 years ago to divest tobacco holdings.

Outside consultants estimate it has missed out on US$3bn in gains from then to the end of 2014 by not investing in tobacco stocks, as the MSCI World Tobacco index returned more than 309% in total returns over the decade from 2005 to 2015.

From things that could kill you to drugs trying to keep you alive, and Gilead Sciences Inc (NASDAQ:GILD) said its earnings slipped in the first quarter due to discounts on some of its drugs.

The maker of hepatitis C treatment Harvoni said sales of the best-selling drug fell 15% to US$3bn in the quarter, with the steepest drop-off in the United States and Japan, according to the New York Times.

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