Sherry Lansing, chairman of Viacom's Paramount Pictures film studio since 1992, will leave the unit when her contract expires at the end of next year, the company said. No successor was named. Lansing, 60, who was the first woman to head a Hollywood studio, developed films such as "Forrest Gump" and "Fatal Attraction." Paramount ranks seventh among the major Hollywood studios in 2004 movie-ticket sales with $427.8 million, according to Nielsen EDI.
Black Quits Holding Company Post
Conrad M. Black resigned as chairman and chief executive of Hollinger Inc., the holding company that has voting control over newspaper publisher Hollinger International. A Toronto court was scheduled to hear a shareholder demand for his resignation. Black has announced his intention to buy out the minority investors and take Hollinger Inc. private. Black said last week that he would resign to clear the way for the proposed buyout.
Jurors in the trial of six former Enron and Merrill Lynch executives accused of fraud and conspiracy in the sale of energy-generating barges ended their third day of deliberations without a verdict. Deliberations will resume this morning. Prosecutors said a secret Enron promise in December 1999 to buy back Merrill's $7 million stake in three barges made the deal a loan under U.S. accounting rules. Enron recorded the deal as a sale, illegally booking a $12 million profit so it could meet earnings estimates, prosecutors said.
A $975 million loan for Northwest Airlines is being restructured by J.P. Morgan Chase, Deutsche Bank and Citigroup, the airline said. Lenders to Northwest agreed to waive some rights to demand early repayment on the existing credit as long as the airline's "unrestricted" cash remains above $1.7 billion, the company said in a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing on Oct. 28. The measure of cash totaled $2.54 billion as of Sept. 30, according to the filing. The company wouldn't reveal its current cash balance or the terms of the restructured loan.
A federal judge denied a request from former Adelphia Communications executive Michael J. Rigas to dismiss securities fraud charges against him. His trial ended in July with a deadlocked jury. The U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan plans to retry the case.
Amazon.com, the world's largest Internet retailer, was accused in a lawsuit of infringing a patent awarded to Cendant Publishing in August for a Web site feature that makes recommendations to consumers based on past purchases. Amazon.com uses the system in part by displaying the message, "Customers who bought this book also bought," followed by a list of books, Cendant said. Cendant Publishing seeks a jury trial and unspecified damages.
Two former finance executives at Computer Associates International, who pleaded guilty in April when the Securities and Exchange Commission charged them with conspiracy to commit securities fraud, agreed to pay $387,470 to settle related civil charges. The SEC reached the new settlement with David Kaplan, former senior vice president of finance and administration, and David Rivard, who was vice president of finance at the computer software manufacturer.
Yahoo hired Lloyd Braun, a former ABC-TV programmer, to head its media and entertainment division. Braun, who will join Yahoo Nov. 15, will try to persuade movie, TV and music companies to distribute more content exclusively on Yahoo and try to create original programming for the company's Web sites. Braun was ousted in April as chairman of the ABC Entertainment Television Group.
Energizer Holdings, which makes batteries, flashlights and shaving razors, said chief executive J. Patrick Mulcahy plans to retire in January. Ward M. Klein, the company's chief operating officer since January, will succeed Mulcahy.
PalmSource, the provider of the Palm OS operating system for handheld devices and wireless electronics, named Jean-Louis Gassee as chairman to replace the retiring Eric Benhamou. Gassee serves as a general partner with venture capital firm Allegis Capital. He joined PalmSource's board in May 2002.
Wells Fargo said four computers were stolen from a vendor that prints loan statements. The computers contained customer names, addresses, and Social Security and account numbers of mortgage and student-loan customers. No passwords or personal identification numbers were in the database. The bank notified customers by mail last week after learning of the theft and urged them to take precautions, such as filing a security alert with credit bureaus.
McCormick, the world's largest spice maker, said it bought the Dutch company C.M. van Sillevoldt for $73.7 million in cash. C.M. van Sillevoldt sells spices, herbs and seasonings under the Silvo brand in the Netherlands and the India brand in Belgium. McCormick is based in Sparks, Md.
A joint venture between Rockville-based Bresler & Reiner and Richard Naing of RWN Development Group, also of Montgomery County, paid $29.5 million to Boxer Property of Houston for eight historic buildings, totaling 530,000 square feet, in downtown Baltimore.
Tenet Healthcare narrowed its third-quarter loss to $70 million from a loss of $308 million in the corresponding quarter a year ago. Revenue fell 3 percent, to $2.44 billion.
DirecTV Group said its third-quarter loss widened to $1.01 billion, from $23 million last year, as it took a $903 million charge to write down the value of three satellites. The top U.S. satellite TV company canceled plans to provide the high-speed Internet service the satellites were designed to support. Revenue rose 20 percent, to $2.86 billion.
Clorox profit fell 5 percent, to $123 million, in its fiscal first quarter, partially from a $30 million pre-tax charge from restructuring and asset write-downs in its Glad U.S. manufacturing operations. Revenue in the quarter ended Sept. 30 rose 4 percent, to $1.09 billion.
Playboy Enterprises said it turned a third-quarter profit on more advertising and online subscriptions. Playboy earned $1.9 million, compared with a loss of $900,000 in the corresponding quarter a year ago. Sales increased 8 percent, to $80.2 million.
Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia restated its financial results for the first half of the year to post a loss of $37.3 million, compared with the previously reported $39.6 million loss. The change reflects a new accounting policy for subscription acquisition costs.
Compiled from reports by the Associated Press, Bloomberg News, Dow Jones News Service and Washington Post staff writers.