BUSINESS IN BRIEF
Price-Fixing Suits Limited
Tuesday, June 15, 2004; Page E02
The Supreme Court ruled that foreign companies can't automatically press claims of international price-fixing in U.S. courts. With Justice Sandra Day O'Connor abstaining, the other eight justices overturned a lower-court ruling that had allowed foreign buyers to sue foreign companies over alleged antitrust violations in American courts as long as they could demonstrate that U.S. business were affected.
Glaxo Posts Paxil Studies Online
Drug manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline yesterday posted on its Web site nine studies it funded that tested its top-selling antidepressant Paxil in children and adolescents. The company had been accused in a lawsuit last week of withholding negative data about the drug. New York state Attorney General Eliot L. Spitzer, who brought the complaint, hailed the company's decision, saying, "If we can get this policy adopted more broadly in the industry, it could really change things for doctors" choosing treatment methods. GlaxoSmithKline said last week that it had acted responsibly in disseminating research data and that it "endorses [industry group] principles that call for timely publication of meaningful trial results."
The Federal Reserve cleared the way for Wall Street powerhouse J.P. Morgan Chase to combine with and absorb Chicago-based Bank One, forming the nation's second-largest bank, with more than $1 trillion in assets. The Fed's board of governors voted 6-0 to approve the $58 billion deal, finding that the investment firm's acquisition of the bank would not unduly concentrate banking resources.
Former Enron chief executive Jeffrey K. Skilling may use $3.7 million from accounts frozen by the government to pay his household bills and legal expenses while awaiting the start of his fraud trial next year, a judge said. Skilling is charged with 35 counts of fraud, conspiracy and insider trading related to the collapse of the energy trading company.
EBay agreed to pay $9.25 million to settle a 2002 class-action lawsuit by customers who alleged the online auctioneer's PayPal e-mail payment service ignored complaints or did not respond to inquiries in a timely fashion. The company, which bought PayPal after the lawsuit was filed, set aside funds last year to pay for a settlement.
MGM Mirage raised its bid for rival casino operator Mandalay Resort Group after weekend discussions. MGM Mirage said the two sides had agreed on "all material terms" of the revised $4.8 billion cash offer, and both sides said they would present the matter to their boards today. The deal would create the world's largest gambling company.
Former WorldCom directors including ex-chief executive Bernard J. Ebbers agreed to partially settle a lawsuit by employees who lost billions of dollars in retirement funds during the long-distance telephone company's collapse. The settlement's terms were not disclosed, but a lawyer for the employees said the plaintiffs would file a document with that information later this week.
T-bill rates rose. The discount rate on three-month Treasury bills auctioned yesterday rose to 1.39 percent from 1.23 percent the previous week. Rates on six-month bills rose to 1.72 percent from 1.505 percent. The actual return to investors is 1.413 percent for three-month bills, with a $10,000 bill selling for $9,964.90, and 1.76 percent for a six-month bill selling for $9,913.00. Separately, the Federal Reserve said the average yield for one-year Treasury bills, a popular index for changing adjustable-rate mortgages, rose to 2.07 percent, from 1.92 percent last week.
A New York judge threw out several tax charges against former Tyco chief executive L. Dennis Kozlowski but left intact the heart of prosecutors' grand larceny case against him. New York Supreme Court Justice Michael J. Obus ordered Kozlowski and former Tyco finance chief Mark H. Swartz to stand trial Jan. 18. A six-month-long prosecution of both men ended in mistrial earlier this year after a juror received a disturbing note.
SBC Communications' policy preventing customers from switching their local phone service while keeping their SBC high-speed Internet connection is unlawful, a California regulatory judge ruled.
Dominion Resources signed a 20-year agreement giving Norwegian oil company Statoil access to the expanded capacity at the Cove Point liquefied natural gas terminal in Calvert County. The installation's daily capacity will grow from 1 billion to 1.8 billion cubic feet under the plan, which needs government approval.
International Financial Services was ordered by a federal judge to pay $100 million for defrauding currency-futures investors, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission said. Judge Gerard Lynch of the Southern District of New York also found former IFS president John Walker Robinson and Chan Kow Lai, an IFS director, personally liable for fraud.
NeighborCare's board voted unanimously for the third time to reject a $30-a-share hostile offer from rival Omnicare, the largest provider of drugs and related pharmacy services to nursing homes. The board urged shareholders to reject Omnicare's offer, valued at $1.5 billion including debt assumption, as financially inadequate, Baltimore-based NeighborCare said in a statement.
Sterling Financial, operator of 56 banks in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware, agreed to buy Pennsylvania State Banking Co. for about $44 million in cash and stock. The purchase price is a 66 percent premium over Friday's closing price in over-the-counter trading. Both companies are based in Pennsylvania.
Disabled fliers seeking better access to 10 airlines lost in court as a federal judge ruled that $3.2 billion paid to the carriers after the 2001 terrorist attacks did not subject them to the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Mortgage delinquencies fell sharply in the first quarter as an improved economy and job market took pressure off household budgets. The first-quarter performance marked the lowest delinquency rate since the second quarter of 2000.
Mitsubishi Fuso recalled 450,000 trucks and buses for defects it failed to report four years ago. Police also raided the home of former Mitsubishi Motors President Katsuhiko Kawasoe, who was arrested last week on suspicion of concealing defects.
Nokia introduced five new models, including its first flip phones and what was advertised as the world's smallest third-generation phone, catching up with competitors that have eroded its dominance in cellular handsets with the popular clamshell models.
A secretary who stole nearly $8 million from her bosses at Goldman Sachs in London was sentenced to seven years in prison. Joyti De-Laurey, 35, had been found guilty on 20 fraud charges.
Royal Ahold, the Dutch owner of Giant Food and Columbia-based U.S. Foodservice, said it lost $484 million in the first quarter because of costs to sell assets in Brazil and Thailand. The company is trying to pay down debt and regain its investment-grade credit rating after an earnings-inflation scandal. The U.S. retail division outperformed the European division in the first quarter, but U.S. Foodservice, where most of the profit inflation took place, lost $70 million. Giant Food's management recently moved from Landover to Quincy, Mass.
Compiled from reports by the Associated Press, Bloomberg News, Dow Jones News Service and Washington Post staff writers.
© 2004 The Washington Post Company