The maker of Kool cigarettes agreed to scale back its "Kool Mixx" hip-hop-themed marketing campaign and pay $1.46 million for anti-smoking programs to settle lawsuits claiming that it was aimed at black youths. Attorneys general from Maryland, New York and Illinois sued Brown & Williamson Tobacco, which has since merged with R.J. Reynolds, alleging that the campaign violated the 1998 settlement with tobacco companies, which forbids marketing to young people. The six-year-old "Kool Mixx" promotional program has recently included the nationwide distribution of CD-ROMs with hip-hop music, cigarette packs with hip-hop designs and a "House of Menthol" Web site, state officials said.
Senators Seek to Delay Options Rule
Fifty-two senators, representing both parties, sent letters to Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman William H. Donaldson asking him to order more study of how stock options are valued before a rule takes effect that would require companies to treat employee options as expenses. The rule is expected to be finished by year-end and could take effect early next year. The rule is opposed by several large technology companies that make frequent use of stock options as a compensation tool.
Donald A. Purdy Jr. was named interim director of the National Cyber Security Division. Amit Yoran quit the top job in the Homeland Security Department division last week.
The Energy Department will lend oil refiner Premcor 500,000 barrels of oil from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve to offset supplies lost when Hurricane Ivan struck the Gulf of Mexico region. Premcor is the fifth refinery to get such a loan.
U.S. album sales rose 5.8 percent in the first nine months of this year, compared with the same period of 2003. About 463 million albums were sold in the United States between January and Oct. 3, compared with roughly 437.4 million in 2003, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Overall, 562.7 million albums, singles and digital tracks were sold in the first nine months of the year. The online music market accounted for the sale of more than 93.6 million tracks from January to October.
Computer Associates International will buy Netegrity, another maker of computer security software, for $430 million in cash, the companies said. Under the deal, which is subject to shareholder and regulatory approval, Computer Associates would pay about $10.75 per common share of Netegrity stock, a 39 percent premium over Tuesday's closing price on the Nasdaq Stock Market.
The economy will grow no more than 2 percent next year and may even stall, according to a survey of 50 U.S. chief executives conducted by the Business Council. The executives cited terrorism as the biggest risk for the economy. Most of the executives still said inflation would remain tame, the unemployment rate would fall and oil prices would drop to less than $40 a barrel. The Business Council comprises 125 chief executives of big U.S. companies.
The Federal Trade Commission sued the marketers of the CortiSlim dietary supplement, alleging they lied about its ability to help people lose weight. The FTC said Window Rock Enterprises and Infinity Advertising, both of Orange County, Calif., made false claims in ads that appeared in print, on the Web and on television.
RS Investments agreed to pay $30 million to settle allegations that it allowed excessive market timing in its mutual funds, New York state Attorney General Eliot L. Spitzer said. Under the settlement reached with the SEC, RS agreed to pay $11.5 million in restitution and disgorgement to investors, $13.5 million in civil penalties and $5 million in fee reductions to investors over five years.
A federal grand jury in San Diego indicted 11 men, including eight former Peregrine Systems executives, on charges of orchestrating and then hiding a multimillion-dollar accounting fraud at the software firm. Former Peregrine employees named include chief executive Stephen P. Gardner and president Gary Lee Lenz.
A federal bankruptcy judge ordered California's attorney general to drop a lawsuit seeking to block Enron from doing business with the state, officials said. The suit accuses Enron of commodities fraud and unfair competition during the height of the state's energy crisis in 2000 and 2001. A judge last month ruled that Enron is protected from such lawsuits while in bankruptcy proceedings.
Wal-Mart Canada said the British Columbia Labor Relations Board dismissed an application by the United Food and Commercial Workers to unionize its workers at a store in Terrace, British Columbia. Workers at the store voted to unionize in June, but the ballots were sealed while the labor board considered the scope of the bargaining unit. Wal-Mart has 230 Canadian stores and more than 60,000 employees.
Alitalia signed an agreement with the Italian government and labor unions over layoffs at the carrier. The agreement provides for two years of unemployment benefits to help the 3,700 employees who will be laid off under the restructuring plan, which the airline approved last month. Unions had agreed to the job cuts, but they demanded more unemployment benefits.
India plans to restart a power plant built by bankrupt U.S. energy company Enron that was shut down three years ago, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said. The $2.9 billion Dabhol Power Project, the largest-ever foreign direct investment in India, has been closed since 2001 after its only customer, the Maharashtra State Electricity Board, stopped payments after a dispute over power charges.
Spain's top banker, Emilio Botin; three former executives of Spain's largest bank; and 28 bank clients were ordered to stand trial on charges of tax fraud. The case dates back to the 1980s, when the bank offered what prosecutors say were tax-evading investment products. The judge said the Spanish treasury was cheated out of 85 million euros ($105 million) in tax revenue.
Lawrence I. Hebert quit as a director and vice chairman of Allbritton Communications, the Washington-based holding company for Joe L. Allbritton's television stations. Hebert also is president of Riggs Bank, which Joe Allbritton controls. Allbritton Communications owns ABC affiliate WJLA-TV in Washington and ABC affiliates in six other markets.
Genentech said third-quarter profit rose to $230.9 million, from $152 million during the comparable quarter last year, as more doctors prescribed its Avastin drug to treat colon cancer. Revenue was $1.2 billion, up from $817 million.
Monsanto lost $42 million in its fourth quarter, compared with a loss of $188 million in the same quarter last year. The loss included restructuring charges of $44 million and a tax benefit of $4 million. Revenue for the quarter declined to $1.26 billion, from $1.3 billion, which the company attributed largely to declining U.S. sales of its Roundup herbicide.
Compiled from reports by the Associated Press, Bloomberg News, Dow Jones News Service and Washington Post staff writers.