Federal prosecutors have decided not to file criminal charges against Global Crossing, Chairman Gary Winnick or any of its other executives over aggressive accounting practices or alleged document destruction, sources close to the investigation said. The U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles simply lacked enough evidence, one source said. The decision closes the books on the U.S. attorney's probe into the fiber-optic network builder, which rocketed to prominence under Winnick and filed for bankruptcy in January with $12.4 billion in debts. The end of the criminal investigation doesn't halt an inquiry by the Securities and Exchange Commission or ongoing civil litigation by investors.
Yahoo to Buy Inktomi
Yahoo said it will buy online search engine pioneer Inktomi for $1.65 a share in cash, or about $235 million, which is a premium of about 41 percent over Inktomi's Friday closing stock price. Yahoo said it expects the acquisition to close in the first quarter. Inktomi, based in Foster City, Calif., reported a loss of $131.6 million, or 87 cents a share, on revenue of $20.45 million for its fiscal fourth quarter ended Sept. 30. Inktomi shares rose 43 cents, or 37 percent, to $1.60, yesterday on the Nasdaq Stock Market.
Rep. W.J. "Billy" Tauzin (R-La.) asked the Energy Department to tap the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to help supply refiners as a strike that crippled petroleum exports from Venezuela entered its fourth week. Crude oil for February delivery yesterday rose $1.45, or 4.8 percent, to $31.75 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, a 23-month high. Venezuelan crude oil production has dropped more than 90 percent, and crude prices have increased 17 percent since oil workers walked off the job Dec. 2. Traders are also concerned the United States and Iraq may go to war and disrupt Persian Gulf crude shipments. Oil prices are up 60 percent this year, on pace for the biggest yearly gain since 1999.
Enron may have underpaid the agency that operates California's electricity grid, the California Independent System Operator, by as much as $50 million because of meter-reading errors, according to an attorney for the bankrupt energy trader. Computer Sciences, which manages meter data for two Enron subsidiaries, told Enron that it had discovered errors dating back to July 2001, Enron attorney Gary Fergus said in a letter to the California ISO.
Charter Communications said it fired Chief Financial Officer Kent Kalkwarf and Chief Operating Officer David Barford amid an investigation by the FBI and the Securities and Exchange Commission of the cable television operator's reporting of capital expenditures and subscribers.
The Internal Revenue Service did a good job handling tax returns and refunds this year despite complications caused by tax law changes and the terrorist and anthrax attacks, a report commissioned by Congress found. The IRS met most of its goals to provide better assistance to taxpayers on the phone, online and at walk-in offices, the General Accounting Office said.
The Air Transportation Stabilization Board announced that it signed off on a $45 million loan for Aloha Airlines, a carrier based in Honolulu. The loan is backed by a $40.5 million federal guarantee, which the board granted last month. On Friday, the board conditionally approved a federal loan guarantee of $148.5 million on a $150 million loan package for Evergreen International Airlines, but it turned down a request by Great Plains Airlines to guarantee $17 million of a $25 million loan package.
T-bill rates fell. The discount rate on three-month Treasury bills auctioned yesterday fell to 1.185 percent from 1.200 percent last week. Rates on six-month bills fell to 1.24 percent from 1.26 percent. The actual return to investors is 1.207 percent for three-month bills, with a $10,000 bill selling for $9,970, and 1.265 percent for a six-month bill selling for $9,937.30. Separately, the Federal Reserve said the average yield for one-year Treasury bills, a popular index for changing adjustable-rate mortgages, fell to 1.43 percent last week from 1.47 percent.
The Federal Communications Commission voted to approve Qwest Communications International's application to reenter the long-distance telephone market in nine states -- Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
Carlyle Group and Providence Equity Partners, two private-equity firms, received approval from the Netherlands' antitrust regulator to buy France Telecom's Dutch cable television unit Casema. Carlyle is based in the District.
W.R. Grace, a Columbia specialty chemicals firm, will post a fourth-quarter pretax charge of at least $20 million as a result of a recent ruling in a government environmental lawsuit against Grace. The U.S. District Court in Montana granted the federal government's motion for partial summary judgment on issues in a pending lawsuit against Grace. The suit seeks the recovery of cleanup costs associated with Grace's previously operated vermiculite mining and processing sites near Libby, Mont.
Gannett, the largest U.S. newspaper publisher, said it will buy the publishing business of SMG, Scotland's largest media company, for $343 million in cash, adding the 219-year-old Herald to its titles. SMG will use the proceeds to reduce debt. McLean-based Gannett, the publisher of USA Today, will also gain the Sunday Herald and the Evening Times, for a total of three of Scotland's biggest-circulation broadsheets.
Sara Lee Bakery Group is recalling frozen fruit pies sold nationwide because they may contain walnuts that are not listed on the label and may thereby pose a hazard to people who are allergic to the nuts. Affected by the recall are 40-ounce frozen pies labeled "Sara Lee Signature Selections Fruits of the Forest Pie." Some cartons may contain a different variety of pie containing walnuts, the company said. Those recalled have the production code 06032242XX, with the XX representing any number between 00 and 24. The code is embossed on the flap of the package near the tear strip used to open the pie. Consumers may return the pies to the grocery store where purchased for a refund, the company said.
Compiled from reports by the Associated Press, Bloomberg News, Dow Jones News Service and Washington Post staff writers.