SEC Opens Probe of OfficeMax

OfficeMax said the Securities and Exchange Commission issued a formal order of investigation after the company revealed it had fabricated $3.3 million in rebates billed to suppliers. The SEC inquiry follows the company's probe into accounting for vendor income that led to the resignation of Christopher C. Milliken as chief executive. OfficeMax's investigation began in December after a supplier complained some employees acted "inappropriately" in requesting promotional payments, the company said.

Ford Unit Settles Charges

A Ford Motor unit agreed to pay $700,000 to settle regulators' allegations that it marketed unsecured corporate debt as if it were a traditional money-market fund. Ford Motor Credit also agreed to drop the name Ford Money Market Account from the $7.3 billion investment program, the Securities and Exchange Commission said. It neither admitted nor denied wrongdoing.


Boeing Wins Most New Orders

Boeing, the world's second-largest aircraft maker, extended its lead over Airbus in new business this year, winning orders for planes worth a total of $3.9 billion.

Northwest Debt Rating Cut

Standard & Poor's downgraded Northwest Airlines' debt rating, saying the carrier faces heavy losses and unions that aren't accepting cuts. Northwest's corporate debt was lowered two notches, from B to CCC+. Its short-term rating was cut one notch to C from B-3.

Northrop in Talks With EADS

Northrop Grumman is in discussions with European Aeronautic, Defense & Space and "other" companies on a mid-air refueling tanker if the Pentagon opens the competition to EADS. Northrop Grumman would serve as prime contractor while EADS, the owner of Airbus, would supply aircraft to be refitted as aerial refueling tankers.

Chief executive Ronald D. Sugar indicated Northrop is also in several "teaming" discussions with BAE Systems.

Raytheon Touts Airliner Defense

Raytheon said it has developed a ground-based microwave system that could defend airliners from missiles, and it is trying to persuade the U.S. government to deploy it at major airports as a counterterrorism measure. Raytheon said its system has worked in tests and would be less expensive to implement than competitors' systems.

Corporate Crime

Tyco Jury Rehears Testimony

The jury considering fraud and larceny charges against former Tyco International executives L. Dennis Kozlowski and Mark H. Swartz heard more than three hours of Swartz's testimony, including his direct testimony and much of the cross-examination, read back to them. Jurors left for the day without reaching a verdict.

Westar Case Retrial Begins

Jury selection began in the retrial of two former Westar Energy executives. Former chief executive David C. Wittig and former executive vice president Douglas T. Lake are facing charges including conspiracy, falsifying documents and manipulating the utility's policies and board of directions to enrich themselves.


Board Approves Split of Viacom

Viacom said its board approved the plan of Chairman Sumner M. Redstone, left, to split the company into two parts, with CBS Television anchoring one business and MTV cable networks and Paramount Pictures in the second. Redstone will remain chairman of both companies.


Best Buy Profit Gains 49 Percent

Best Buy said first-quarter profit rose 49 percent from the comparable period a year earlier, to $170 million, on strong sales and a wider variety of high-end items such as digital televisions. Revenue for the three months ended May 28 rose 12 percent, to $6.12 billion.

Best Buy boosted its fiscal 2006 profit forecast to as much as $3.25 per share from $3.10.


Razor Recalls Scooters, Chargers

Razor USA is recalling 246,000 electric scooters, models E300, E300S, E200 and E200s, because a faulty weld could cause the handlebar to bend or break away, the Consumer Products Safety Commission said.

It is also recalling 584,000 Pow-Max battery chargers that can overheat. The chargers were sold with the company's electric scooters, motorcycles, mini-motorcycles and go-carts.

Both were sold from October 2003 to May 2005. Consumers should call 866-664-1409.

Honda Motor said it plans "substantial" changes to its Accord sedan as it tries to reverse a sales slump. John Mendel, Honda's U.S. sales chief, said the "fairly major" changes will address what some customers have called shortcomings, including exterior styling and engine power.

Bristol-Myers Squibb is pledging not to promote any of its new medicines directly to patients for at least a year.

Compiled from staff and news service reports.