Money Minute: Medtronic Merger Deal a Tax Dodge?

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Medtronic is the latest to join a list of health care companies seeking lower corporate tax rates abroad through acquisitions.

Medical device-maker Medtronic (MDT) is reportedly in advance talks to acquire its rival Covidien (COV) for almost $43 billion. The deal, structured as a "tax inversion" would allow Medtronic to shift its headquarters to Ireland, where Covidien is located. Ireland's main corporate tax rate is 12.5 percent whereas here in the U.S. it's 35 percent -- among the highest in the world. Pfizer (PFE) tried a similar move through its failed bid for AstraZeneca (AZN), but Actavis (ACT) and Perrigo (PRGO) managed to get their tax inversion deals approved. Tax inversions are legal now but some lawmakers want to see that change.

According to a new study the impact of consolidation in the airline business isn't all bad for consumers. The government report finds competition actually increased slightly on some of the more popular routes like New York to Los Angeles. But smaller airports and less popular routes have seen fewer airlines servicing them since the merger mania in the industry. From 2007 to 2012 Delta Air Lines (DAL) bought Northwest, United (UAL) merged with Continental and Southwest (LUV) bought AirTran.

Here on Wall Street, the three major indexes fell last week. The The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) lost 0.9 percent, the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) fell a quarter of a percent and the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) dropped 0.7 percent. It was Wall Street's first weekly drop in a month.

The World Cup has been on for less than a week but it's already getting more buzz on social media sites and blogs than the Sochi Olympics and this year's Super Bowl. According to the Adobe Digital Index, the World Cup was mentioned 19 million times among the sites it tracks in the year leading up to the beginning of the games in Brazil. The busiest commentators are in Japan where fans have posted nearly two out of every five mentions.

Finally, as a teenager, zipping around in your own set of wheels used to boost your cool quotient dramatically. Well that's less so among today's teens according to Toyota's (TM) CEO of Motor Sales and Marketing. In a USA Today report he says the lack of car enthusiasm among teens is a global phenomenon and something to worry about. To get more teens revved up about cars the company has a contest asking them to describe their dream car of the future. Some of the ideas are pretty wacky.

-Produced by Karina Huber.


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