AES reported that it will pay former chief executive Dennis W. Bakke a monthly retirement benefit of $110,830 through June 2016 or until his death, whichever comes first. That was part of an agreement struck in June when Bakke resigned as the Arlington-based energy company was struggling with losses, heavy debts and a plunging stock price. In a proxy report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, AES said it reached another agreement with Bakke in February restricting the sale of his AES shares. In return, Bakke's stock options would vest immediately and would not expire until 10 years from the date they were granted. Separately, AES said it is selling its share of power plants in California, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Oman and Qatar for $327 million in cash.
HealthSouth Stock to Be Delisted
The New York Stock Exchange said it will seek to delist HealthSouth and suspended trading in its stock for a fifth consecutive session after accusations that the nation's largest rehabilitation chain and its chairman engaged in massive accounting fraud. Trading of HealthSouth shares was halted March 19 as the Securities and Exchange Commission filed civil charges accusing the company of overstating earnings by $1.4 billion since 1999 in a scheme allegedly orchestrated by its founder, Richard Scrushy. He has denied wrongdoing.
Al-Jazeera, the Arab satellite news channel that broadcast images of dead U.S. soldiers and prisoners of war this week, was barred from broadcasting from the two biggest U.S. stock markets. The New York Stock Exchange revoked the station's credentials, citing space considerations and not its coverage, but the Nasdaq Stock Market said it won't let Al-Jazeera switch from the NYSE to Nasdaq's Times Square studios in light of the network's "recent conduct during the war." Meanwhile, hackers attacked al-Jazeera's Web site, rendering it intermittently unavailable, the site's host said. Ayman Arrashid, system administrator at the site's Web host, said only the site's U.S. servers were targeted, so the attackers were probably in the United States.
Rakesh Gangwal, former president and chief executive of US Airways, is expected to be named chairman and chief executive of Atlanta-based Worldspan as early as this week, sources confirmed. Worldspan is a reservation system used by airlines, hotels, car-rental companies, cruise lines and travel-booking Web sites including Expedia.com. Gangwal resigned from US Airways in November 2001. Worldspan was acquired from its owners, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines, earlier this month for more than $1 billion in a private equity deal led by Citigroup Venture Capital Equity Partners and Teachers' Merchant Bank of Ontario.
The Federal Trade Commission said people fed up with unwanted telemarketing can sign up in July for a national do-not-call list that will block many sales calls. The FTC will launch a Web site July 1 so consumers can register online for the free service, the agency said. The FTC will also set up a toll-free phone number, available nationwide by the end of August, that people can call to register for the list.
Home resales fell 4.3 percent in February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.84 million, still the fourth-best month on record, the National Association of Realtors said.
MidAmerican Energy Holdings, a unit of Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway, plans to spend $323 million to build 180 to 200 wind-powered turbines, a project billed as the world's largest wind-electricity plant on land. The turbines, which will be in north-central and northwestern Iowa, will generate 310 megawatts of power. The turbines will provide enough power for about 85,000 homes, MidAmerican said.
A U.S. appeals court reinstated a $68.4 million jury award that 3M was ordered to pay LePage's for illegally monopolizing sales of transparent tape with its Scotch brand. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit ruled that 3M used a variety of rebates and discounts to thwart competition from LePage's. Ninety percent of the U.S. market is controlled by 3M, which conceded that it has a monopoly, the court said. LePage's gained an 88 percent share of the small market for private-label tape in 1992 by selling its product at a lower price.
Microsoft said users of its free Hotmail service have been limited to sending 100 e-mail messages in any 24-hour period. The company imposed the limit earlier this month to stop people from using Hotmail to send unsolicited messages, or spam, to large numbers of e-mail addresses.
Deutsche Post's DHL express mail company will buy rival Airborne for $1.05 billion. Europe's biggest mail company agreed to pay $21.25 a share, 27 percent more than their value at the New York close Friday, the last trading day before Airborne confirmed talks with DHL. The deal with Seattle-based Airborne, the third-largest U.S. package-delivery service, excludes Airborne's aircraft.
Swedish police said they detained the creator of a computer virus, called "Ganda," that clogged thousands of computers worldwide last week. The virus reproduced itself by sending e-mail messages offering screen savers with names such as "Spy pics" and "Go USA."
Freddie Mac, the second-biggest buyer of U.S. mortgages, will delay the release of its first-quarter results until after an audit of its financial statements for the past three years is complete. The restatement for 2000, 2001 and 2002, announced in January, won't be finished until the end of June, McLean-based Freddie Mac said.
Bertelsmann, the German media giant that owns publisher Random House and music company BMG, said its 2002 profit fell 25 percent, to $1.03 billion, because of charges from its acquisition of Zomba Music. Operating earnings excluding one-time expenses rose as Random House's profit increased to $178 million and BMG earned $132 million. Total sales fell to $19.4 billion. Bertelsmann is privately held.
McCormick, the Sparks, Md.-based spice company, said its fiscal first-quarter earnings rose 3.8 percent, to $35.1 million (25 cents per share). Sales in the quarter ended Feb. 28 rose 7 percent, to $555 million, bolstered by favorable foreign exchange rates.
Levi Strauss said it lost $24.5 million in its fiscal first quarter, compared with a profit of $42.5 million in the year-earlier period, reflecting a more severe sales slowdown than management forecast. San Francisco-based Levi said sales fell 6 percent, to $875 million.
Liberty Media, which controls cable television networks including Starz Encore and holds 42.5 percent of home-shopping channel QVC, said its fourth-quarter loss narrowed to $692 million because of fewer investment write-downs. The company lost $3.71 billion a year earlier. Revenue at Colorado-based Liberty rose 2.9 percent, to $536 million.
Compiled from reports by the Associated Press, Bloomberg News, Dow Jones News Service and Washington Post staff writers.