Argentina failed to revive negotiations with creditors holding about $100 billion of defaulted bonds as none of the major bondholder groups showed up at a meeting for talks about a proposal to swap old bonds for new securities. "There is no point in meeting to listen to their done deal," said Horacio Vazquez, treasurer of the Argentina Bondholders' Association, which represents 7,000 retail bondholders in Argentina. Argentina last week unveiled a plan that it said would compensate investors 25 cents per $1 of defaulted debt, as measured by discounted present value of the bond payments.
Trading Halted Over Missing Filings
The Securities and Exchange Commission suspended trading in 26 shell companies for 10 days because they failed to file financial disclosure reports, the first time it suspended trading because a company failed to file required documents, the agency said. The action is part of an effort to prevent schemes in which investors try to inflate the price of a stock to sell it at a profit. The SEC said it is moving to revoke the companies' registrations.
New York state Attorney General Eliot L. Spitzer said he tried and failed to reach an agreement with Dick Grasso to recover some of the former New York Stock Exchange chairman's $140 million in pay, and now plans to take the case to trial. "It's absolutely inconceivable that I'm settling it now," Spitzer said at a conference in New York sponsored by Money magazine. Grasso, who wrote on May 26 that Spitzer's lawsuit "smacks of politics," said through his spokesman, Eric Starkman, that Spitzer's comments today are "a political rallying cry."
Regal Entertainment Group, the world's largest movie theater company, was sued by Mel Gibson's Icon Distribution over $40 million in box office receipts from "The Passion of the Christ." Regal agreed to pay 55 percent, or "studio terms," of its aggregate receipts from the film and has instead offered Icon only 34 percent of its proceeds from the film, according to the suit.
The former Rite Aid executive whose secret tapes helped prosecutors convict several colleagues in the billion-dollar-plus accounting scandal at the drugstore company was sentenced to two years' probation and 100 hours of community service and was fined $2,500. Timothy J. Noonan, who pleaded guilty to withholding information from the company's internal investigators, is the only one of five Rite Aid defendants sentenced so far not to receive a prison term.
A former Adelphia Communications executive on trial with the cable company's founder and two sons told a jury that he believed investing in golf courses was fair game for a company trying to impress clients. Michael C. Mulcahey, the company's former assistant treasurer, defended the same practices that prosecutors earlier had highlighted as examples of illegal excesses carried out by a family-operated company run amok. Mulcahey also defended monthly loans by the company of up to $1 million to company founder John J. Rigas.
Ernst & Young is the target of a federal inquiry into possible conflicts of interest involving payments the accounting firm made to a consultant. The consultant, Mark C. Thompson, was paid about $377,000 to create marketing material for Ernst & Young while serving on the boards of three of the accounting firm's clients, said Ernst & Young spokesman Charles Perkins.
FedEx Express received a contract to handle guaranteed deliveries to about 190 countries for the U.S. Postal Service, a deal that was previously held by DHL Worldwide Express. Financial terms weren't disclosed when the contract, which starts July 1, was announced.
HealthSouth, accused by U.S. regulators of a $2.7 billion accounting fraud, fended off a possible bankruptcy by persuading bondholders to restructure terms of $1.9 billion in debt under an agreement that will cost it $73 million to $80 million, said the Birmingham-based company. Bondholders have until June 23 to ratify the consent agreement, the company said.
Airbus will provide 30 more A320 jets, valued at $1.8 billion, to discount carrier JetBlue, widening its lead over Boeing as the world's top maker of airliners. JetBlue says it plans to take delivery of as many as 17 Airbus jets per year until 2012.
The owners of Ocean Spray, about 900 cranberry and grapefruit growers, rejected in a 52 percent to 48 percent vote PepsiCo's offer to buy half of the agricultural cooperative's branded business.
The number of U.S. homes and businesses with high-speed Internet access jumped by about 20 percent during the last six months of 2003, according to a Federal Communications Commission study. At the end of 2003, there were 28 million homes and businesses with broadband connections, according to the agency's survey.
Pier 1 Imports is recalling 48,000 beaded candleholders because the beads can catch fire, the Consumer Product Safety Commission said. The candleholders, manufactured in China, were sold in Pier 1 stores and on the company's Web site from February to May for about $10. The price sticker says "Pier 1," "China" and bears numbers SKU 1997504, SKU 1998132 or SKU 1998145.
Old Navy is recalling various zippered outerwear for children because the clear, oval-shaped zipper pulls can come off and present a choking hazard. The Consumer Product Safety Commission said there have been 13 reports of the zipper pulls coming off; no injuries have been reported. Old Navy is recalling 666,000 units of the garments, sizes 6 months to 4T, sold in stores and on the company's Web site from November 2003 through May 2004.
Japan's economy grew 1.5 percent in the January-March quarter from the previous quarter, the government said, revising figures to show slightly faster growth than initially estimated. The data back the emerging view among analysts that the world's second-largest economy appears to be on a recovery track after more than a decade of slowdown, when sporadic periods of growth alternated with downturns.
European Union antitrust regulators began a fact-finding phase into Intel's business practices, requesting information from industry players, after rival U.S. chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices declined to withdraw its complaint accusing Intel of unfair sales practices. In 2002, the European Commission said there was insufficient evidence to bring charges, but AMD disagreed and renewed its complaint, the EU said.
Mitsubishi Fuso Truck & Bus disclosed an additional 93 vehicle defects based on an investigation going back to 1992, including some that news reports said caused 21 accidents resulting in injury. Mitsubishi Fuso said the defects included "a number" that should have prompted recalls. DaimlerChrysler, which owns 65 percent of Mitsubishi Fuso, said it was considering filing a claim for compensation against Mitsubishi Motors, which still owns 20 percent of Mitsubishi Fuso.
A bankruptcy judge sealed court records pertaining to an investigation of KPMG's work as the auditor for Ashburn-based MCI, the second-biggest U.S. long-distance phone company. The filings, detailed legal bills from April, were submitted by Piper Rudnick, a law firm MCI hired to assist with a Securities and Exchange Commission probe related to a tax-shelter strategy MCI bought from KPMG, court records show. Fifteen states claim MCI owes at least $1.5 billion in unpaid taxes. Some of the states are trying to have KPMG disqualified as the auditor, saying KPMG helped MCI illegally evade taxes.
Compiled from reports by the Associated Press, Bloomberg News, Dow Jones News Service and Washington Post staff writers.