WestPoint Stevens was barred by a judge from auctioning its assets, triggering a provision that could let financier Wilbur L. Ross and others back out of a proposal to buy the company in a deal valued at $632 million. The judge said WestPoint Stevens can't pay WL Ross & Co. and an investor group up to $6 million in fees and expenses should the company sell its assets to another buyer. Under terms of the asset purchase agreement, Ross and the investor group could scrap the deal if an auction wasn't authorized by the end of yesterday.
MBNA, the world's largest independent credit card lender, said in a regulatory filing that it will take a $785 million pretax charge for a restructuring, as more people than it had expected are taking early retirement and severance packages. The company had said it thought the charge would be $300 million to $350 million.
Financier Carl C. Icahn slammed Blockbuster chief executive John F. Antioco for mishandling the failed acquisition of Hollywood Entertainment and vowed to push his own slate of director candidates in a battle for control of the company. Icahn criticized Antioco, saying he went on a "spending spree" with shareholder money, and attacked the executive for having a salary that he believes is "unconscionable," according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Toy pacifiers are being recalled because they pose a choking hazard to young children. The product, distributed by Solar, was sold in various colors as Flashing Pacifier or 2-in-1 Flashing Pacifier with Whistle Necklace. More information is available at 800-837-6527.
The International Monetary Fund said that the world's appetite for oil is expected to grow robustly in the decades ahead, fed by improving standards of living in developing countries and a jump in automobile ownership, and that those factors will probably keep prices high. World oil demand is projected to surge from about 82.4 million barrels a day in 2004 to 138.5 million by 2030. China will contribute almost one-quarter of the increase, the IMF said.
Three British bankers fighting extradition to the United States on Enron-related charges will be allowed to challenge British prosecutors for failing to investigate them in their own country. The High Court in London granted the bankers' request for a review of their case. The former employees of a Royal Bank of Scotland Group unit were indicted on seven counts of wire fraud by a Houston court in 2002. Federal prosecutors claim the men used an Enron off-the-books partnership to defraud their former employer of $7.3 million.
Kaplan, a Chicago-based unit of The Washington Post Co. that provides training and courses for professionals, agreed to buy Bisys Group's education services business for an undisclosed price.
XM Satellite Radio Holdings of the District announced that it had reached multiyear marketing agreements with several Major League Baseball teams, including the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and Chicago White Sox. Under the deals, XM will be the "official satellite radio partner" of each team and the teams will market XM with stadium signs and promotions. XM did not disclose the terms.
Lockheed Martin of Bethesda won a $125 million contract from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to manufacture components for five of Japan's F-2 support fighter jets, bringing the total number of aircraft under contract to 76.
Rite Aid nearly quadrupled earnings in its fourth quarter thanks to a tax credit of almost $180 million. The nation's third-largest drugstore chain reported profit of $228.6 million, compared with $59.4 million in the corresponding period a year earlier. Revenue for the three months ended Feb. 26 declined 1 percent, to $4.34 billion. For the full year, the company posted earnings of $302.5 million, up from $83.4 million the previous year. Revenue rose 1 percent, to $16.82 billion.
Accenture said earnings in its second quarter rose 70 percent, to $209.8 million, led by growth in financial and consulting services. Revenue for the three months ended Feb. 28 rose 15 percent, to $4.22 billion.
Compiled from reports by the Associated Press, Bloomberg News, Dow Jones News Service and Washington Post staff writers.