E.U. Insists on Global Control
The European Union is insisting that governments and the private sector share the responsibility of overseeing the Internet. The United States remains firm that it remain the Internet's ultimate authority, rejecting calls in a United Nations meeting in Geneva for a U.N. body to take over. The Geneva talks were the last preparatory meeting before November's World Summit on the Information Society in Tunisia.
KPMG Settles Tax Shelter Case
KPMG and outside lawyers who advised it agreed to pay $225 million to resolve claims by hundreds of investors that the accounting firm committed fraud by selling illegal tax shelters. Under the proposed settlement, KPMG and Sidley Austin Brown & Wood would pay $195 million to former clients who bought four tax shelters that the U.S. Internal Revenue Service later disallowed. The plaintiffs' lawyers would receive the other $30 million. The proposal follows KPMG's August agreement to pay $456 million to avoid prosecution.
Accountant Barred From Audits
The Securities and Exchange Commission barred a Deloitte & Touche accountant from public audits for two years for failing to stop Adelphia Communications from understating its debt after management rejected his repeated requests for better disclosure. William E. Caswell included the full $1.6 billion in six drafts of the cable television company's 2000 Form 10-K filing before acceding to management, the SEC said. After the fraud was uncovered, Adelphia filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in June 2002.
Fire Survivor Sues Sunrise
Sunrise Senior Living, the largest U.S. provider of assisted-living housing for the elderly, has been sued by a woman burned in a bus fire that killed 24 nursing home residents in the Hurricane Rita evacuation. Gloria Marie Putney, 84, was one of 38 residents and staff of Brighton Gardens of Bellaire, Tex., on a bus that caught fire Sept. 23 going to Dallas. Also named in the suit was Global Charter Services, which provided the bus and driver.
Druyun Is Out of Prison
Darleen A. Druyun, the former Air Force acquisition chief convicted of violating federal conflict-of-interest laws during negotiations with Boeing, was released from prison.
Druyun and Michael M. Sears, Boeing's chief financial officer, discussed Druyun's hiring during negotiations on a $23 billion deal in which the Air Force would buy or lease as many as 100 Boeing 767 aerial refueling planes. Druyun subsequently went to work for Boeing. Sears also was convicted and served four months in prison.
Judgment Against Pricewaterhouse
PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, the U.S. arm of the world's largest accounting firm, was ordered by a federal judge to pay $182.9 million to creditors and policyholders over its predecessor's 1981 audit of a defunct Vermont company, Ambassador Insurance Co.
Wal-Mart Shuffles Executives
Wal-Mart promoted two executives to vice chairman and swapped their duties. Michael T. Duke, who has headed Wal-Mart's domestic stores, will lead the company's international division. John B. Menzer, who has been chief of international stores, will now oversee the U.S. stores.
Separately, Wal-Mart will raise its stake in Japanese retailer Seiyu to more than 50 percent from 42 percent at a cost of up to $600 million, Seiyu said Friday. The move will make Seiyu a Wal-Mart subsidiary and expand Wal-Mart's influence in the world's second-biggest retail market.
Delphi Misses Loan Repayment
Delphi, the largest U.S. auto-parts supplier, said it missed a voluntary loan repayment and will seek a waiver from its lenders as it negotiates for aid from its unions and General Motors to avoid filing for bankruptcy protection. Delphi said it skipped the payment to keep its cash levels up.
Delphi has borrowed $1.5 billion from a $1.8 billion credit line.
MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS
Liberty to Buy Swiss Cable Firm
Liberty Global, which owns cable television operations in more than a dozen European markets, said it agreed to pay about $2.19 billion in cash for Cablecom Holdings, Switzerland's largest broadband cable operator. Cablecom is owned by a shareholder group led by Apollo Management, TowerBrook Capital Partners and Goldman Sachs affiliates.
Cablecom had planned an initial public offering with a price range of $2.2 billion to $2.7 billion.
P&G Cleared to Buy Gillette
Procter & Gamble said U.S. regulators approved its proposed $57 billion acquisition of Gillette on the condition that it sell the Right Guard and Rembrandt brands.
P&G said it would start divesting the Gillette brands in the fourth quarter.
American Airlines Cuts Flights
Because of rising jet fuel costs, American Airlines will cancel 15 round trips from Chicago O'Hare and Dallas-Fort Worth airports effective Wednesday. American said it would evaluate the schedule on Oct. 29.
Compiled from staff and news service reports.