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MyFitnessPal: Mobile and social combines to drive powerful health outcomes

BY Michael Johnsen

SAN FRANCISCO — The combination of mobile and social may be a powerful driver of positive health outcomes. MyFitnessPal on Thursday published its first user data study, uncovering a new trend in which people share health-related goals, activities and personal health content with their friends, colleagues and relatives, online and off. The report found that dieters who formed their own “Fitness Tribes” lost twice as much weight as their non-social dieting peers. The data analysis also showed the larger the Fitness Tribe, the more weight social dieters were likely to shed. Users who formed Fitness Tribes of 10 or more people lost up to four times as much as peers who did not build or partake in Fitness Tribe support groups. 

“Mobile and social allow us to connect with each other in ways that help people form and sustain healthy habits. This generation of health-seekers are instinctively coming up with a variety of ways to give and get the support they need from their real-world relationships and digital social networks,” stated Mike Lee, CEO MyFitnessPal. “This data shows that their instincts are correct: social Fitness Tribes are actually driving better outcomes in weight loss and other healthy eating and exercise goals when compared against the outcomes of users who tackle their health journeys solo.”

Fitness Tribes not only helped members lose more weight, they also inspired members to exercise harder and more frequently. About half of MyFitnessPal users reported in a survey that they work out harder with friends than they would on their own. And about 55% say they are more likely to show up and actually exercise than they would on their own.

Additional findings of the inaugural study entitled “The Rise of the Fitness Tribe” includes:

  • People are sharing their health goals and efforts both online and in real life. As many as 64% tried to lose weight together in the last 12 months, and 54% have shared status updates or check-ins on Facebook that made it clear they were at the gym or exercising. (By contrast, only 32% of respondents reported having posted a relationships status updates to their Facebook pages);
  • The majority of MyFitnessPal users surveyed (56%) said they prefer to exercise in some social context, whether with a friend (33%), a relative (11%) or in a group exercise class (12%);
  • Giving and getting inspiration appears to be a primary motivator for sharing health goals, as 50% of respondents said that if a friend or relative lost 20 pounds, they would be inspired to lose weight, too; and
  • More than half of respondents (60%) said they’d make healthy food choices in a restaurant if the friends they were eating with did.

The company also announced a new feature for its smartphone app called Steps, available now for iPhone 5S. Steps can help raise awareness of how even small efforts like taking the stairs or walking to lunch can become healthy habits. This always-on steps tracking feature on the MyFitnessPal app will hopefully inspire users to become more engaged in their health and fitness activities overall.

As MyFitnessPal continues to expand the universe of data it collects with Steps, the company took a deep dive into its existing data with its Fitness Tribes study. The study consists of data from MyFitnessPal’s more than 50 million users plus a deep-dive survey of 2,220 users, and shows that people who track their health and fitness activities and involve their social and physical networks experience greater positive results and change in behavior, compared to those who do not.

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Bloomberg: Bayer bids $14 billion for Merck Consumer Care

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — Bayer is negotiating for Merck’s consumer health business in a deal worth $14 billion, according to a Bloomberg report published Friday, citing people with knowledge of the matter. 

According to the report, an announcement is likely to come in the next few days. "While the two sides have agreed to a deal in principle, they are still working out details and haven’t formally reached an agreement," Bloomberg reported. "The terms would include cash and an exchange of pharmaceutical assets, possibly structured as a joint venture."

Other suitors for the Merck consumer care business include Reckitt Benckiser, Procter & Gamble and Sanofi, though Reckitt has withdrawn from the bidding because Merck’s consumer business had become too expensive, Bloomberg reported. 

 

 

 

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Pfizer proposes $106 billion deal in AstraZeneca merger

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK — Pfizer early Friday morning upped the ante in its bid for AstraZeneca, which is now valued at $106 billion. Pfizer’s Chairman and CEO contacted AstraZeneca’s Chairman prior to the issuance of the announcement and AstraZeneca indicated it would respond after its board has reviewed the proposal. 

Pfizer has proposed to AstraZeneca a combination of the two companies pursuant to which AstraZeneca shareholders would receive, for each AstraZeneca share, 1.845 shares in the combined entity and 1,598 pence ($27.01) in cash. The proposal represents an indicative value of £50.00 ($84.47) per AstraZeneca share, based on Pfizer’s closing share price of $31.15 on 1 May 2014. The proposal would provide an opportunity for AstraZeneca shareholders to achieve significant value immediately upon closing of the transaction and at the same time participate in the short, medium and long-term value creation expected from the combination, Pfizer stated. 

“We have seen significant positive market reaction to the announcement we made on April 28, including from the shareholders of both our companies," stated Ian Read, Pfizer chairman and CEO. "The consistent message we have heard reinforces our belief that there is a highly compelling strategic, business and financial rationale for combining our businesses, with significant benefits for shareholders and stakeholders of both companies. We believe our proposal is responsive to the views of AstraZeneca shareholders and provides a sound basis upon which to arrive at recommendable terms for the combination of our two companies.”

On the basis of Pfizer’s closing share price of $31.15 on 1 May 2014 and an exchange rate of $1.00:£0.5919 on 1 May 2014, the proposal represents a premium of approximately 32% to the unaffected closing price of £37.82 on April 17 (being the date before market speculation of a possible offer by Pfizer for AstraZeneca). 

In a letter to England’s Prime Minister David Cameron, Read noted that the combined company’s corporate and tax residence would remain in England. Read has committed to having two AstraZeneca board members join the combined company’s board and to headquarter the combined company’s European divisions in the U.K.

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