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Business nation briefs
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MOTOROLA SUFFERS 4Q LOSS AS GOOGLE SALE LOOMS: LIBERTYVILLE, Ill. (AP) — Motorola Mobility sank to a fourth-quarter loss while trying to close its proposed $12.5 billion sale to Google. The setback, announced Thursday, came amid fierce competition in the markets for smartphones and tablet computers.

The disappointing results mirrored preliminary numbers that Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. released three weeks ago.

At this point, Motorola's performance is probably a bigger concern to Google's shareholders than Motorola's because of the deal the two companies reached last summer. Google has agreed to pay $40 per share for Motorola's vast patent portfolio, as well as its devices. The acquisition still needs regulatory approval in the U.S., Europe, China, Russia and several other countries.

Google Inc. is counting on Motorola's more than 17,000 patents to help insulate its Android software for mobile devices against lawsuits alleging that the system stole innovations owned by other companies, including tech heavyweights such as Apple Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Oracle Corp.

AMGEN 4Q PROFIT DOWN 9 PCT, BUT SALES UP 3 PCT: Amgen Inc. said Thursday that its fourth-quarter profit fell 8.5 percent as its expenses for taxes and for producing and selling drugs rose faster than its revenue.

The world's largest biotech company said its net income was $934 million, or $1.08 per share, down from $1.02 billion, also $1.08 per share, a year earlier.

Excluding one-time items, Amgen said it earned $1.04 billion, or $1.21 per share, down 6 percent from $1.1 billion, or $1.17 per share, in 2010's fourth quarter. Its adjusted income excluded costs for severance payments, stock options, expenses related to selling a manufacturing plant and amortization of product technology rights acquired in a prior year.

The company's quarterly revenue rose 3 percent to $3.97 billion from $3.84 billion.

Analysts on average expected adjusted earnings of $1.22 per share and revenue of $3.92 billion for the fourth quarter, according to FactSet.

AMGEN TO BUY MICROMET FOR $1.16 BILLION: NEW YORK (AP) — Amgen Inc. said Thursday that it is buying Micromet Inc., a developer of cancer therapies, for $1.16 billion in cash in a bid to boost its oncology pipeline.

Amgen, the world's largest biotech company, is paying $11 per share for Micromet, a premium of 33 percent over the company's closing price Wednesday.

In morning trading, Micromet shares leaped 32 percent, or $2.66, to $10.94. Over the past year, the stock has traded between $4.13 and $8.90.

Founded in Germany and based in Rockville, Md., Micromet is developing an experimental drug currently in mid-stage testing for leukemia. The treatment, called blinatumomab, is also in clinical development for the treatment of Non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Amgen said the purchase will give it access to proprietary antibody technology which provides a platform for future research. It will keep Micromet's research and development base in Munich.