FINANCIAL SERVICES

Citigroup Chairman to Complete Term

Citigroup's Sanford I. Weill, left, said he will finish his term as chairman, abandoning plans to leave early and start a buyout fund. Weill's decision ends a standoff with his fellow directors and relieves Citigroup chief executive Charles Prince of the distraction it created after President Robert B. Willumstad announced his resignation July 14. Citigroup's board rejected Weill's plan to retire early with his benefits and perquisites such as use of company jets intact, people familiar with the situation said last week.

IN COURT

Wal-Mart Sues Former Executive

Wal-Mart Stores sued former vice chairman Thomas M. Coughlin, seeking to void his multimillion-dollar retirement package after company allegations that he misspent the company's money. Wal-Mart previously disclosed in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that it was firing Coughlin retroactively for "gross misconduct."

Coughlin was Wal-Mart's head of U.S. operations before his retirement last year and left his board seat in March over allegations of expense-account abuse. Through his attorney, Coughlin has denied wrongdoing and said he used the money to fight unions.

Judge Delays Qwest Fraud Suit

A federal judge temporarily delayed some of the evidence-exchange process in a civil case against former Qwest executives to give the government more time for a criminal investigation into the company's multibillion-dollar accounting scandal. U.S. Magistrate Judge Craig B. Shaffer said federal prosecutors have a legitimate interest in the millions of pages of documents and witness depositions gathered by the Securities and Exchange Commission and in other pending lawsuits involving Qwest and its ex-managers.

Shaffer ordered a 45-day stay and set a Sept. 30 status conference at which point he said he may extend the time if necessary.

PRODUCT SAFETY

Folding Chairs for Kids Recalled

Three companies are recalling nearly 1.8 million children's folding chairs because the safety locks can fail, causing the chairs to suddenly collapse or fold and catch children's fingers, the Consumer Product Safety Commission said.

Recalled are about 1.1 million chairs by Idea Nuova, sold by discount department and toy stores as a set of one table and two chairs from September 2004 to June 2005; 522,000 chairs by Fourstar Group, sold by discount and grocery stores individually or as a set from July 2003 to July 2005; and 175,000 chairs by Meco, sold by furniture and wholesale club stores as a table and four-chair set from July 2003 to May 2005.

MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS

Maytag Opens Books to Whirlpool

Whirlpool officials began taking a closer look at Maytag books as the two appliance companies took the initial steps toward a deal that would combine their businesses. Whirlpool said it had entered into a mutual confidentiality agreement with Maytag, allowing its accountants to examine Maytag's financial records in detail.

Whirlpool boosted its offer for Maytag on July 22 by $1 a share, to $18, or about $1.43 billion.

MARKETING

Shrek Heading to McDonald's

McDonald's and DreamWorks Animation agreed to a two-year marketing partnership that will bring Shrek and other film characters to the fast-food company. The non-exclusive agreement covering two movies a year begins with "Shrek 3," planned for 2007, the companies said. McDonald's already has exclusive rights to promote Walt Disney Co. film and home-video releases under a 10-year deal that ends next year.

EARNINGS

One-Time Charges Hit Boeing

Boeing said its second-quarter profit fell 7 percent, to $566 million from $607 million in the corresponding period last year, mostly because of a one-time charge related to the sale of two commercial operations. Revenue increased 15 percent, to $15 billion, fueled by defense spending and a continued revival of its commercial aircraft business.

WellPoint's Profit Doubles

WellPoint said second-quarter profit more than doubled, to $559.4 million from $237.9 million a year earlier. The company added customers and cut costs through an acquisition in November. WellPoint was formed in November when Anthem bought WellPoint Health Networks and took its name.

Anheuser-Busch Earnings Slump

Anheuser-Busch earnings fell nearly 10 percent in the quarter ended June 30, to $607 million from $674 million a year ago. The nation's biggest brewer cited slumping U.S. beer sales and increased cost pressures, and its stock price fell nearly 4 percent to a three-year low. But the beermaker said it will hold off on price increases in most of the United States until early 2006.

Kellogg Profit Rises 9 Percent

Kellogg said its second-quarter earnings rose 9 percent, to $259 million. Sales at the nation's largest breakfast-cereal maker rose 8 percent, to $2.59 billion.

Compiled from staff and news service reports.