MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS

Whirlpool Raises Maytag Bid

For the second time, Whirlpool has sweetened its offer for rival Maytag, submitting a binding cash-and-stock offer of $20 per share, valued at $1.62 billion, plus $977 million in assumed debt. The new bid came one day before the cutoff for Whirlpool to make a firm proposal.

An investment group, Triton Acquisition Holding, submitted an all-cash bid of $14 per share earlier in the year, and Maytag's board recommend that shareholders accept it when they vote Aug. 19. Whirlpool also offered to pay a $40 million termination fee that Maytag would owe Triton if the investment group's bid were to be rejected.

Maytag declined to comment.

Medical Testing Firms to Join

Quest Diagnostics, the nation's leading medical-testing company, will acquire LabOne for $934 million. The purchase will allow Quest to provide risk assessment and health-screening services to the life insurance industry.

LEGAL

Ex-Citigroup Execs Accused

Two former Citigroup executives were accused of siphoning off tens of millions of dollars in mutual fund shareholders' fees. The Securities and Exchange Commission filed a complaint in U.S. District Court in New York against Thomas W. Jones, 56, former chief executive of Citigroup Asset Management, and Lewis E. Daidone, 48, a former senior vice president of Smith Barney Management.

IN COURT

Wal-Mart Appeals Class Ruling

Wal-Mart Stores asked a federal appeals court to overturn a ruling that may allow as many as 1.6 million female workers to seek damages for discrimination. Attorney Theodore Boutrous urged the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit to reverse a ruling that granted class-action status to the case. Six women sued Wal-Mart in 2001, accusing the company of paying women less than men and offering fewer promotions.

MARKETS

Nasdaq to Leave Trading System

The Nasdaq Stock Market plans to pull out of a 28-year-old system that links major U.S. markets. The No. 2 U.S. stock market has relied since April on a Brut LLC system it acquired in 2004 to connect to other markets, enabling it to increase trading of stocks listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Nasdaq's withdrawal from the Intermarket Trading System, expected in June 2006, may force markets such as the NYSE to develop their own private linkages with the same speed and efficiency of Nasdaq's new system.

Auto parts maker Visteon said it lost $1.19 billion in its second quarter, including $1.1 billion in non-cash expenses to write down the value of plants being returned to former parent Ford. The company posted a profit of $24 million in the comparable quarter a year earlier. Sales rose 2.7 percent, to $5 billion.

Delphi lost $338 million in its second quarter, compared with a profit of $143 million, and said again that it might have to file for bankruptcy protection unless its former parent General Motors provides financial aid. Sales fell 6.9 percent, to $7.02 billion.

T-bill rates rose. The discount rate on three-month Treasury bills auctioned yesterday increased to 3.46 percent from 3.4 percent last week. Rates on six-month bills rose to 3.68 percent from 3.6 percent. The actual return to investors is 3.539 percent for three-month bills, with a $10,000 bill selling for $9,912.54, and 3.802 percent for a six-month bill selling for $9,813.96. Separately, the Federal Reserve said the average yield for one-year Treasury bills, a popular index for making changes in adjustable-rate mortgages, rose to 3.84 percent last week from 3.77 percent the previous week.

Compiled from staff and news service reports.

Whirlpool has increased its offer for Maytag for a second time. Above, a Sears customer walks past a display of Whirlpool laundry appliances.