The board of Mandalay Resort Group approved MGM Mirage's $4.8 billion purchase offer. If the deal is approved by the Federal Trade Commission, the combined company will be the biggest player in the casino industry.

Mandalay president and chief executive Glenn Schaeffer said MGM Mirage will pay $71 per share for the company. The deal includes MGM's assumption of $2.5 billion in Mandalay debt.

The announcement came after both boards held long meetings. MGM Mirage directors discussed whether antitrust regulators would approve the deal.

Former Regulator to Run Insurer

Steven B. Larsen, the former Maryland insurance commissioner who blocked not-for-profit CareFirst Blue Cross's efforts to be sold to a for-profit company, was named chief executive of the Maryland and District operations of Amerigroup Corp., a for-profit HMO based in Virginia Beach. Larsen was insurance commissioner from 1997 until last summer. Amerigroup serves people who receive health benefits through publicly sponsored plans such as Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance Program.

MORE NEWS

A former Tyco International director conceded that he received payments of $30,000 a month that weren't disclosed to shareholders. The testimony occurred as lawyers for Tyco's former chief lawyer, Mark A. Belnick, tried to undercut the credibility of the former director, Joshua M. Berman, by showing that he feared Belnick would uncover the payments and arranged to have him fired.

Microsoft will sell its own antivirus software, putting it in competition with Symantec in a $2.8 billion market. Mike Nash, vice president of Microsoft's security software unit, said the company will probably sell a subscription service but did not provide details.

Pension regulations proposed by the Treasury Department in 2002 are being formally withdrawn. The rules provided guidance to employers on how to set up a cash balance pension plan, or convert a traditional pension to a cash balance, without violating age discrimination laws. Congress had ordered the department not to implement the rules and to propose legislation to deal with the problem, which the department has done.

Gasoline prices "may be turning a corner," said Guy Caruso, administrator of the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration. He told a Senate committee that average retail prices fell about 3 cents a gallon last week, thanks to a better supply-demand balance and the expectation of lower oil prices. But he said retail prices will be about $2 a gallon for some time.

Consumer optimism returned in the first half of June after dimming in May amid rising gasoline prices, according to a University of Michigan report. The mid-month report said consumer sentiment increased to 95.2 from 90.2 in May, according to people who have seen it.

Yahoo is increasing its free e-mail storage to 100 megabytes from four megabytes to head off competition from Google, which is testing a similar e-mail service with 10 times the memory space. Yahoo also will open up more than 50 million e-mail addresses from dormant accounts.

A judge approved a $25 million deal that settles five shareholder lawsuits accusing Qwest Communications and former executives, including former chief executive Joseph P. Nacchio and billionaire Philip F. Anschutz, of insider trading. The settlement will require the regional phone company to change corporate governance and appoint a committee of independent directors to consider separating the roles of chairman and chief executive.

Chicago Sun-Times circulation was overstated for several years, said the paper's owner, Hollinger International. It said it discovered the overstatement after increasing the paper's cover price on April 1. It did not elaborate on the circulation figures -- which newspapers use to set advertising rates -- but said its audit committee is investigating.

Spiegel, the bankrupt retailer that pioneered mail-order marketing, won court approval to sell its catalog business to Pangea Holdings, a private equity firm, for $53.4 million -- only $2 million of which will be in cash.

RECALLS

Wal-Mart Stores is recalling 146,000 slow cookers because they could burn users, the Consumer Product Safety Commission said. The heating element of the General Electric Cool Touch 6 Quart Slow Cooker may melt through the plastic outer shell, the commission said.

INTERNATIONAL

Sony and Bertelsmann said after two days of closed-door hearings before European regulators that they expect the proposed merger of their Sony Music and BMG divisions to win antitrust approval. Opponents disparaged the presentation made by the companies.

Apple Computer launched its iTunes Music Store in Britain, France and Germany. Apple chief executive Steve Jobs said iTunes would be available without subscription. The charge for downloading a single track would be about $1.43 in Britain and $1.20 in Germany and France.

LOCAL BUSINESS

Hanger Orthopedic Group, a Bethesda-based provider of orthopedic and prosthetic services, had its stock halted following a report on New York's WNBC-TV that the company improperly booked sales at its Long Island branch by forging prescriptions and recording sales for patients who didn't exist. Hanger Chief Financial Officer George E. McHenry said the company learned of the accusation last Monday, and launched an investigation shortly after. It boils down to one employee accusing another of wrongdoing, McHenry said.

Freddie Mac will probably slow the growth of its mortgage investments during the next five years to about one-third the average rate since 1996 to restore investor confidence, chief executive Richard F. Syron said. Freddie Mac should be a high-yield, "low-volatility" equity, he said in an interview with Bloomberg News, citing Johnson & Johnson as a model. Syron was named chief executive in December after a $5 billion accounting scandal.

EARNINGS

Lehman Brothers Holdings said profit for its latest quarter climbed 39 percent, to $609 million. Revenue rose 28 percent, to $2.9 billion.

Lennar, the largest U.S. home builder by stock-market value, said fiscal second-quarter profit rose 26 percent, to $201.4 million, as low mortgage rates spurred home buying. Revenue in the quarter ended May 31 climbed 11 percent, to $2.3 billion.

Oracle said profit in its fiscal fourth quarter rose 15 percent, to $990 million. It credited increased demand for its database software. Sales in the period ended May 31 rose 8.6 percent, to $3.08 billion.

Compiled from reports by the Associated Press, Bloomberg News, Dow Jones News Service and Washington Post staff writers.

Mail carrier Rozier Wair uses a General Motors fuel-cell vehicle during a test run. GM and the Postal Service announced they have reached a two-year agreement for the USPS to deliver mail in and around Washington using leased fuel-cell vehicles. This is the first commercial application of a GM fuel-cell vehicle in the United States.