MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS
MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS
TPG Capital to Buy Midwest Air
Midwest Air Group accepted a cash offer to be acquired by private-investment firm TPG Capital, rejecting a revived cash-and-stock offer from AirTran Holdings. Midwest said TPG would pay $17 per share, which values the deal at $450 million, based on the number of outstanding shares.
More Securities Downgraded
Moody's Investors Service, Standard & Poor's and Fitch Ratings have accelerated their downgrades of mortgage-linked securities as default rates on home loans soar.
Moody's Investors Service cut ratings on 691 securities with an original face value of $19.4 billion that were backed by subprime, second-lien mortgages. Fitch said it may lower ratings on all second-mortgage securities it has rated in the past three years, or about $12.1 billion of bonds. S&P downgraded $2.3 billion of collateralized debt obligations whose holdings include low-rated subprime bonds.
Nickelodeon Sets Restrictions
Viacom's Nickelodeon cable network plans to stop allowing the use of its characters for packaging on junk food to address concerns about kids' health.
Lawsuits Call Laxative Dangerous
Fleet Phospho-soda, a popular over-the-counter laxative used to flush out patients' bowels before procedures such as colonoscopies, has caused serious kidney damage and death, more than 50 lawsuits filed in at least 20 states say, according to Stephen Foley, one of the lawyers involved in the litigation.
The maker, C.B. Fleet of Lynchburg, Va., issued a statement saying its studies show that the product is safe when used properly, in the proper patients, with enough hydration.
IBM, PwC Settle False-Claims Suit
IBM and PricewaterhouseCoopers have agreed to settle allegations that they made improper payments on government technology contracts, the Justice Department said. IBM agreed to pay nearly $3 million, while PricewaterhouseCoopers will pay $2.3 million. The settlement is part of a larger federal investigation of three firms -- Hewlett-Packard, Sun Microsystems and Accenture -- that also have been accused of providing kickbacks to federal consultants to get government technology contracts.
Five Charged in ID Thefts
Five men were charged with running an identity-theft ring that targeted wealthy individuals, including Charles Wyly Jr., the chairman of Michaels Stores, Manhattan prosecutors said. They're charged with stealing $1.5 million and trying to steal $10.7 million more, Chief Assistant District Attorney James Kindler said. They were caught when one of the men, posing as Wyly, falsified a check for $7 million to a gold dealer who called J.P. Morgan Chase to confirm its authenticity, Kindler said.
Buyout Firm Sues Auditor
Thomas H. Lee Partners, the closely held buyout firm that owned the biggest stake in Refco when it collapsed, sued Grant Thornton over its role as an independent auditor of the defunct company. Thomas H. Lee seeks at least $245 million in damages from the accounting firm for allegedly helping Refco defraud investors.
Grant Thornton spokesman John Vita said the accounting firm's audit of Refco "comported with professional standards."
IBM, Sun Plan Collaboration
Two longtime rivals in computing, IBM and Sun Microsystems, plan to cooperate on server technologies, a move that could put pressure on their joint competitor, Hewlett-Packard. The collaboration will enable Sun's Solaris operating system to run on IBM servers. Among other things, that means customers who run Sun servers will be able to switch to IBM's hardware without having to rewrite any programs.
Hewlett-Packard said third-quarter profit rose 29 percent, to $1.78 billion from $1.38 billion in the comparable period a year earlier, after the company took market share from Dell. Sales rose 16 percent, to $25.4 billion.
Compiled from reports by Washington Post staff writers, the Associated Press and Bloomberg News.