Lachlan Murdoch Quits News Corp.
Lachlan Murdoch resigned as a senior executive of News Corp., ending the hopes of his father, Rupert, that he would some day run the global media company. Lachlan, 33, will move back to Australia with his wife and son and remain a director of the company. Rupert Murdoch, 74, has not given any indication of when he plans to step aside.
News Corp. is one of the largest global media companies. Its properties include the Twentieth Century Fox movie studio, the Fox broadcast network, Fox News Channel, DirecTV and the HarperCollins book publishing unit.
Senate Confirms SEC Nominees
Rep. Christopher Cox (R-Calif.) won Senate confirmation as chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission after avoiding a fight over his pro-business record by pledging to be a strong regulator. The Senate approved Cox, 52, by unanimous consent as the nation's top market regulator. Senators also confirmed the nominations of Roel C. Campos and Annette L. Nazareth to the two Democratic seats on the five-member commission.
Hewlett-Packard Won't Sell IPods
Hewlett-Packard scrapped an agreement to sell Apple Computer's iPod digital music players.
HP accounted for almost 8 percent of total iPod shipments in the most recent quarter, up from less than 3 percent in the preceding quarter.
HP said it will continue to put copies of Apple's iTunes music software on its computers.
HealthSouth to Settle Lawsuits
HealthSouth and its insurers agreed to pay $25 million to settle lawsuits alleging that the company improperly ran an employee stock benefit plan before an accounting scandal drove down its value. HealthSouth would pay $7 million and the insurers would pay $18 million, the company said in a securities filing. The settlement does not cover former chief executive Richard M. Scrushy, who was acquitted last month of criminal fraud charges.
The settlement is subject to court approval.
Health Plans Can Sue Over Vioxx
Health plans that paid for members' Vioxx prescriptions can sue drugmaker Merck as a class to recover billions of dollars they spent on the recalled painkiller, a New Jersey judge ruled. Superior Court Judge Carol E. Higbee granted a motion filed by a labor union health plan to allow a nationwide class-action lawsuit to proceed under the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act.
Vioxx, which had peak sales of $2.5 billion annually, was on the market until September 2004, when Merck voluntarily withdrew it because research showed the drug increased risk of heart attack and stroke after 18 months' use.
Chevron Profit Down, Unocal's Up
Chevron, the nation's second-largest oil company, reported that its second-quarter profit declined 11 percent, to $3.68 billion from $4.13 billion in the comparable quarter a year earlier, as its oil and gas production dropped and two refineries were closed for repairs. Revenue rose 26 percent, to $48.34 billion.
Unocal, the oil and gas producer that Chevron has agreed to buy, said that its second-quarter profit rose 39 percent, to $475 million. Revenue rose 20 percent, to $2.21 billion.
US Airways Loses $62 Million
US Airways Group reported a second-quarter loss of $62 million ($1.13 a share) compared with a profit of $34 million (59 cents). The Arlington-based airline attributed the loss to higher jet-fuel prices.
EDS Reports Surprise Profit
Electronic Data Systems said its second-quarter profit declined to $26 million from $270 million. Sales were unchanged at $5.2 billion. The Texas computer services company had expected to post a loss for the quarter.
Broadwing's Loss Widens
Broadwing reported a second-quarter loss of $38.3 million (52 cents per share), compared with a loss of $38.1 million (78 cents).
The Columbia-based communications company said revenue rose 56 percent, to $222.2 million, mostly from Focal Communications, which Broadwing acquired last September. The increase was offset by higher depreciation expenses related to Focal's assets.
Compiled from staff and news service reports.