Time Warner Chief Meets Icahn
Time Warner chief executive Richard D. Parsons told investor Carl C. Icahn the company is committed to increasing its long-term value, seeking to ease pressure from the shareholder activist. Parsons agreed to talk with Icahn after the financier and three equity investors disclosed Aug. 15 they had amassed $2.2 billion in stock and options in the company.
In a 50-minute meeting, Parsons told Icahn "the board and management are committed to moving as aggressively as appropriate to create long-term value for all the company's shareholders," said Edward I. Adler, a spokesman for New York-based Time Warner. Shares of Time Warner, the world's biggest media company, have fallen 5.9 percent this year.
Icahn did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
Morgan Stanley to Keep Discover
Morgan Stanley said it will not spin off its Discover Financial Services credit card arm, a move that had been considered under former chief executive Philip J. Purcell.
The company's board instead chose to sell Morgan Stanley's aircraft-leasing division, AWAS, considered a non-core asset, as new chief executive John J. Mack focuses on more traditional investment and credit divisions.
Agency Calls for BP Safety Inquiry
The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board issued its first-ever urgent safety recommendation, requesting that BP form an independent panel of experts to review safety at the company's five U.S. refineries. BP chief executive John P. Browne pledged to quickly comply.
The federal agency is investigating a March explosion and fire that killed 15 workers and caused 170 injuries at the company's refinery in Texas City, Tex. More fires and other incidents since then prompted the action, the board said.
Northwest, Union Still Far Apart
Northwest Airlines and its mechanics union traded contract proposals, but the carrier rejected the union's latest offer, and a union spokesman said "the Grand Canyon" still separates the two sides. The deadline for a strike is 12:01 a.m. EDT Saturday. Northwest, the nation's fourth-largest carrier, has pledged to keep flying if there is a strike.
In the face of operating losses and possible bankruptcy, Northwest is seeking $1.1 billion in annual savings through concessions from its employees, including $176 million from mechanics.
2 Firms Plan Natural Gas Pipeline
Kinder Morgan Energy Partners and Sempra Energy's pipeline unit are pursuing construction of a $3 billion natural gas pipeline linking Rocky Mountain production sites to midwestern and eastern markets, the two pipeline operators said.
Kinder Morgan of Houston and Sempra of San Diego signed a memorandum of understanding to build the pipeline, which would be 42 inches in diameter, making it one of the largest in the country and capable of carrying 2 billion cubic feet of natural gas every day a distance of 1,500 miles.
GM to Use OnStar for Recalls
General Motors plans to notify car and truck owners of recall notices through its OnStar in-vehicle communications service. GM said that beginning this month it will contact owners through the onboard system if they fail to bring their vehicles to a dealer for recall repairs within 60 days of receiving an initial notice. Automakers typically notify owners of a recall by mail and then follow up with postcards every two months.
Stronger Roofs May Be Required
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration plans to propose rules in the next two weeks calling for stronger roofs for cars and light trucks such as sport-utility vehicles, responding to a congressional mandate to reduce rollover-crash deaths.
The new rules may also include tougher seat-belt standards, NHTSA spokesman Rae Tyson said. The Wall Street Journal reported that the agency may almost double the required roof strength at an annual cost of about $90 million for automakers, or less than $6 a vehicle based on 2004 sales.
Medtronic reported that its first-quarter profit fell 40 percent, to $320.6 million from $529.7 million in the comparable quarter a year earlier. The company attributed the decrease to hefty research and development charges from acquisitions. The medical device maker's results were boosted by higher sales of implantable defibrillators, as well as spinal and diabetes products. Revenue grew 15 percent, to $2.69 billion from $2.35 billion.
Compiled from staff and news service reports.