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Big Pharma goes shopping as tax bill returns almost $200 billion cash to US


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Blue-chip drugmakers holding $200 billion in cash, mostly overseas, will start investing more of it in mergers and acquisitions after President Trump's tax overhaul slashed the cost of spending the money in the U.S., debt-ratings firm Moody's predicts.
A repatriation provision in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, approved by Congress in December and signed into law by Trump, allows U.S. companies to bring assets held overseas back to the U.S. without a penalty after paying a mandatory one-time fee of 15.5 percent on cash holdings and 8 percent on the remainder. Under the previous structure, the Internal Revenue Service typically would have assessed levies of about 30 percent, prompting firms that could get money less expensively through capital markets to simply pay for acquisitions with debt.
The tax bill changes the playing field for U.S corporations considerably, "both because the accumulated cash can be accessed more tax efficiently and, separately, because ongoing future cash flows can be accessed more tax efficiently," Michael Levesque, a senior vice president at the New York-based firm, told the Washington Examiner.:snip:

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